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War on Gaza: Photos of Israeli soldiers standing on Saudi flag spark outrage

Social media users decried the images as insulting to Muslims and called on Riyadh to respond
A photograph of a group of Israeli soldiers standing on top of the Saudi Arabian flag has gone viral on social media (@Tamerqdh/X)

Viral photos of a group of Israeli soldiers holding up the Israeli flag while standing on the Saudi Arabian flag have sparked anger among social media users, who said the images displayed a blatant disrespect to Islam and called on Saudi authorities to take a stronger stance against Israel.

The photos were shared on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, earlier this week by a user named Tamer, who uncovered it on the Instagram accounts of two Israeli soldiers.

MEE has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the images or determine when they were taken, but Israeli soldiers have continued to share controversial footage from Gaza.

Some of the content has included detained Palestinians being subject to abuse, which legal experts say could amount to war crimes.

"A group of Israeli soldiers in the Paratroopers Brigade trample the Saudi flag and the certificate of monotheism, during the ground invasion of the city of Khan Younis [in Gaza]," Tamer said in the caption in Arabic.

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"This is what a soldier posted on his Instagram account. This is Israeli filth and contempt," he continued.

The post quickly went viral, with hundreds of people highlighting that the Saudi flag bears the Islamic shahada - the Arabic word for profession of faith - and includes the names of God and the Prophet Muhammad.

"The word is written on this flag of Saudi Arabia and the terrorist Israel has challenged the honor of the entire Muslim Ummah [nation]," one user wrote, using a term that refers to the wider Muslim community.

Some users criticised what they deemed the lack of agency among Saudi Arabian citizens towards the Palestinian cause and used the photograph as evidence of why the kingdom should not normalise relations with Israel.

In 2020 and 2021, Israel reached normalisation agreements, brokered by the US, with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco

Since then, there has been persistent speculation about a similar deal with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally.

In early January, a senior Saudi official told the BBC that his country is still interested in normalising ties with Israel after the war on Gaza ends. In February, Riyadh said that normalisation would not take place without a ceasefire and progress towards Palestinian statehood.

Yet in May, Bloomberg reported that US officials suggested that a deal was still on the table, and that Saudi authorities had launched a crackdown on citizens who express views on social media critical of Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza, which has so far killed over 37,700 Palestinians

MEE  reached out to the Saudi embassy in the UK for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

"This is the Israel that crown prince MBS is DYING to normalize with, and working day and night to do so. Zero dignity," one X user remarked.

"Why is Saudi Arabia silent on this?" asked another user. "Terrorist Israel has challenged your honor. Stepping on the word flag is a reprehensible act."

Several accounts, including those with Saudi Arabian flag emojis on their handles, suggested that the flag was actually a Hamas flag, or that the image was edited or AI-generated, and intended to create backlash against Saudi Arabia.

In response, Tamer took to social media to share screenshots and videos of the Instagram account from which he said he got the image.

"Shame on everyone who doubts Tamer and his sources," he said. "I am not one to base his tweets on lies, fraud, and deceiving people."

Similar photos have since surfaced on X and other social media platforms. However, the original account holders have restricted access to their Instagram pages. 

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