Jordanians launch solidarity campaign with Prince Ali and cartoonist Emad Hajjaj over UAE criticism

Jordanians launch solidarity campaign with Prince Ali and cartoonist Emad Hajjaj over UAE criticism
Jordanians are tweeting in solidarity with Prince Ali and cartoonist Emad Hajjaj, after both figures faced backlash for daring to criticise the UAE-Israel normalisation deal
3 min read
28 August, 2020
Jordan's Prince Ali has faced backlash for tweeting an article criticising the UAE-Israel deal [Getty]
Jordanians have launched an online campaign in support of two prominent figures facing reprisals over criticism of the United Arab Emirates.

The hashtag #Prince_Ali_represents_me began trending on Twitter on Thursday in response to Prince Ali bin Hussein coming under attack online for tweeting an article denouncing the UAE-Israel normalisation deal.

The now-deleted tweet initially contained a photograph of posters of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed with the word "traitor" printed across them.

The previous day, the hashtag #Freedom_For_Emad_Hajjaj had flooded Jordanian social media, with an array of journalists, activists and citizens condemning the arrest of political cartoonist Hajjaj.

The artist, whose work appears in The New Arab's sister publication Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, is set to be prosecuted by the State Security Court on charges of "offending an Arab country". Many have speculated the Arab country in question is the UAE, after Hajjaj made satirical drawings of the normalisation agreement.

Prince Ali's tweet prompted a fierce backlash online led by Emirati-linked Twitter accounts. One verified account claimed that Ali's behaviour was caused by health problems and a drug addiction.

The article in question, an opinion piece written by academic Avi Shlaim in Middle East Eye, was titled "UAE-Israel deal: Breakthrough or Betrayal?"

The piece said the Emiratis went behind the Palestinians' backs to reach the normalisation deal with Israel, and called it "hypocrisy" for the UAE to claim it was acting in the Palestinian interest.

Jordanian news site Al-Urdunyya claimed Prince Ali's tweet caused high-level tensions between the two countries, forcing Jordan to reach out to the UAE and affirm that the article did not represent its official stance.

It also claimed that Jordan's King Abdullah personally asked Prince Ali to take down the tweet.

However, the backlash prompted a wave of support for Prince Ali's views, causing the solidarity hashtag to become the number one trending topic in the country.

Jordanian journalist Yasser Abu Hilala tweeted both hashtags, adding: "Jordanians are against normalisation and they will remain [on the side of] Palestine. Do you get the message, Emirates? You cannot put a price on people's dignity!"

Others pointed out that Ali's sister, Princess Haya, recently fled Dubai claiming her husband, the emirate's leader
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, abused her.

Saudi human rights activist Alya Abutayah Alhwaiti tweeted: "#Prince_Ali_represents_me and all Arabs with a conscience".

Opposition to the US-brokered deal has also been fomenting among Emiratis themselves, with a group of dissidents forming the UAE Resistance Union Against Normalisation last week.

The group says it aims to movement "raise awareness against normalisation" and ally with other activists in the region to prevent other agreements from being agreed between Israel and Arab states.

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