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Bandar’s Anger or the Resentment of Saudis?

Bandar’s Anger or the Resentment of Saudis?

Friday, 9 October, 2020 - 09:00
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan appeared in three episodes on Al-Arabiya channel, during which he revealed the flawed historical positions of the Palestinian leadership, which were sufficient to summarize decades of ingratitude, denial, and non-loyalty. Towards whom? Towards countries that have served the Palestinian cause the most. Who would blame Prince Bandar for his anger “after hearing low-level statements from the Palestinian leaders,” as he said?!

Throughout his diplomatic and political career, Prince Bandar witnessed the extent of the contradictions and ingratitude with which the Palestinian leaders met the efforts of the Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia, in the service of their cause. These contradictions caused severe damage to the cause and harmed the Palestinian people the most.

The Saudi expert’s speech came to undermine the Palestinian leaders’ bet on the continuation of the Saudi silence over proven historical facts and undeniable evidence of decades of material, political, and economic support.

Then was the straw that broke the camel’s back; with the Palestinian leaders’ attack on the Gulf States, and even their disdain and underestimation. Is Bandar not allowed, after all this, to be angry?!

If the Palestinian issue was known to be the most complex, not in the region, but in the world, then Bandar bin Sultan’s two-hour presentation was sufficient to untangle all these complexities. He relied on information not opinion, and logic not emotions, to tell the painful truth that many hesitate to state.

But Bandar was courageous, frank, and direct in confronting everyone with it: The main problem of the Palestinian file lies in its own leaders and not in the long list of states, governments, and people, who are usually blamed for abandoning the cause.

As for why “no Saudi official had come out to talk about what the Palestinian leaders were doing?!” The first reason, according to Prince Bandar, is that “Saudi Arabia aims to serve the Palestinian people because their cause is just.”

The second reason, in my opinion, is that the Kingdom does not target peoples in its positions, unlike the Palestinian leaders who not only lashed out at Saudi citizens but also incited a segment of their citizens against the Gulf peoples through abuse and harm.

The third reason is that Prince Bandar, for four decades, “kept silence” until he was overwhelmed with anger and was forced to reveal the bitter truth.

Prince Bandar threw a stone into a stagnant pool. The Palestinian issue can no longer remain Othman’s shirt, through which entire countries and people are insulted and accused of treason.

We are not talking here about states’ positions and decisions. Rather, we are talking about peoples, who have finally realized that they are blamed, accused, insulted, and betrayed even if they consider the Palestinian issue to be their first cause.

Thus, Bandar bin Sultan did not only express his own anger, but rather the resentment of a people, who were accused of ignorance and dependency, as if that was a punishment for their historical positions for a cause they backed more than its own people did.

Governments take stances that are compatible with their interests. The Saudi official position is very clear regarding the Kingdom’s keenness to reach a permanent and just solution to the Palestinian cause with the aim to establish peace. As for the message sent by Bandar bin Sultan, it was addressed to the Saudi citizens; those who have backed the Palestinian cause for seventy years, defended it and fought for it, but were finally met with ingratitude and condemnation.

The time has come for someone to correct the path, not in revenge against any side, nor an attack on anyone, but rather to rectify fallacies that lasted for decades. Bandar bin Sultan did not only express his anger but was a shaking voice expressing Saudi popular resentment.

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