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Palestinian Leaders… An Apology Is Not Enough

Palestinian Leaders… An Apology Is Not Enough

Wednesday, 9 September, 2020 - 09:15
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

No one has hurt the Palestinian Cause more than the concerned parties did. For more than seven decades, the Palestinian issue was the first preoccupation of the Gulf States. But the Palestinian leadership was not grateful to the unprecedented material support, courageous political positions, historic popular stances, and even the participation in the Arab-Israeli wars.


The Palestinian equation is very strange. It requires that support be open. Supporters endure insults and accept accusations of treason instead of gratefulness. The cruelest thing is that a history of honorable stances is suddenly forgotten and taken for granted. This has reduced the sympathy towards the Palestinian cause. Who can accept accusations, insults, and aggressions even when standing by the “Cause”?


After many Gulf peoples welcomed their countries’ support of the Palestinian cause and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, they began to radically change their position, expressing it with all frankness and boldness. What further led to the decrease of interest was the aggressive attitude towards the Gulf citizens in particular by Palestinian components, without any decisive reaction from their leaders. Other times, Palestinian officials threw implicit blame at the Gulf, while flags and pictures were continuously torn down and burnt…


But the straw that broke the camel’s back was the meeting of the Palestinian factions’ secretaries in Beirut last Thursday, at the invitation of President Mahmoud Abbas. All the Palestinian factions gathered at the same table for nothing, except to attack the Gulf States, in an abhorrent and inciting rhetoric and with irresponsible threats.


This has prompted the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to demand the leaders who participated in this meeting to apologize for those “transgressions and provocative and erroneous statements that contradict the reality and history of relations between the GCC and the brotherly Palestinian people.”


As the meeting was broadcast on Palestinian official television channels, the GCC demanded an official apology for these abuses, incitement, and accusations of treason.


It is no longer acceptable to accept mistakes, incitement, and abuse without any corresponding response. It is no longer possible for the Palestinian issue to be the shirt of Uthman, through which countries and people are attacked continuously, while official and popular support is taken for granted.


Do the Palestinian leaders, who offended the people of the Gulf, realize that they have failed to meet for nine long years, harming their own cause, but finally gathered around one table to launch accusations and blames, as if the “cause” separated them and insulting the Gulf has brought them back together?


If the history of the Gulf States confirms the firm and supporting positions for the Palestinian Cause for over 72 years, then the same history reveals that the Cause suffered from the opponents within the Palestinian leadership itself, who traded with it more than its opponents abroad did.


The worse is that they lost a great deal of popular backing, through their transgressions and abuse against those who supported them the most. Can we blame those who abandon a cause that was long neglected by its own stakeholders and leaders?!


Neither President Abbas’s apology nor the correction of recent positions would erase the many waves of abuse that have afflicted the Gulf people. Unfortunately, sometimes the damage is irreparable.


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