Saudi Documentary on Nakba Portrays Palestinians as Criminals

Published July 10th, 2018 - 02:04 GMT
A picture dates to September 15, 1948 shows Palestinian refugees returning to their village after its surrender during the Arab war. (AFP)
A picture dates to September 15, 1948 shows Palestinian refugees returning to their village after its surrender during the Arab war. (AFP)

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya channel has been facing a backlash by Arab social media activists after airing a documentary film entitled “Al Nakba” earlier this week.

The 47-minute documentary film follows the story of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land since 1897-1948 “as narrated by Arabs and Israelis, without any ideology or partisanism”, as the channel website says.

The documentary also represented Palestinians as criminals; the ones who attacked the Israelis to begin with. It has also described Hamas as a ‘Terrorist Movement’ for trying to defend the land, and defended ‘Haganah’ as a Jewish paramilitary organization.

In fact, if one looked at history books, it is easily found that Israel’s occupation started when Britain approved the ‘Balfour Declaration’ and sent Jews to Palestine. The conflict started when Jews started to make political movements and tried to form their own state and called it ‘Land of Israel’. Then in 1947 the UN agreed a deal to split the land between Palestinians and Jews.

Translation: “Israel was born, and the dream became reality”, “Arab neighbouring armies invaded Palestine”, “After less than three years from being freed from concentration camps, Jews felt that they are struggling to survive.” This is a text that was not written by the Israeli Ynet News, it is from a channel called: “Al Arabiyah”!”

On social media, Palestinian activists slammed back at Al Arabiyah for the language they used questioning a Saudi private-owned channel’s aim behind broadcasting such a show.

Translation: “Al Arabiyah channel (financed by Saudi government) is not able to hide its bias toward Israel! Their latest scandal is a documentary that narrates the creation of the Jewish State from the Israeli angle. And instead of narrating the catastrophe lived by Palestinians, it showed how Israelis suffered which led them to create a home in Palestine.”

One user suggested that they could have instead quoted the Israeli writer, Gideon Levy, and his views on the immorality of the Israeli military and their brutality against Palestinians.

Translation: “I wish they quote the Israeli leftist writer at Haaretz newspaper, Gideon Levy, and his views on Israel as an occupying power, and the immorality of its military against Palestinians, especially Gazans.”

Al Arabiyah was even attacked by the Forum of Palestinian Journalists who condemned broadcasting the documentary in a statement, describing it as a “serious slip” by Al Arabiya who decided to abandon its loyalty to the Arabs.

Saudi voices who are calling for peace and normalized relations with Israel have been rising recently in the time of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

It started with allowing flights between Israel and India to pass through the Saudi airspace for first time in 70 years, followed by the Crown Prince's remarks on Israel’s right to have peace in “their homeland,” Palestine.

In the meantime while Al Arabiya was provoking a public anger over the documentary, a Saudi pro-government writer released an article titled: “Yes to an Israeli Embassy in Riyadh and normalized relations as part of the Saudi Initiative”.

The article that describes Mohammed Bin Salman as the “peacebuilder” in the region, suggesting the opening of a Saudi Embassy in West Jerusalem and an Israeli Embassy in Riyadh as well. However, the writer was believed to be paid by the Saudi government to examine reactions before the government takes real steps toward closer ties with Israel.

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