The former Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, appeared on Al-Arabiya tv on Monday evening, October 5, 2020.
Palestinian hostility against Saudi Arabia is the title of the Palestinian failure.
Prince Bandar began his meeting by clarifying the truth about the recent positions of the Palestinian leaders that represent hostility to the Arabian Gulf states. His statements seem to be consistent with historical Palestinian policies, which inexplicably ignore the Saudi positive political positions, not to mention, the Saudi advice that has always stood firmly with the Palestinians.
In 1991, during the battle to liberate Kuwait, Saddam Hussein hit the Saudi capital, Riyadh, with ballistic missiles. Those were the same missiles that the Saudis bought and presented as a gift to Iraq in the war against Iran! Palestinians went out dancing happily, targeting Riyadh with missiles, as they raised their pictures of Saddam Hussein. The Prince stressed that this could not be forgotten. However, the Saudis showed that they were the greater of the two countries when they ignored such stances for the sake of the Palestinian Cause.
Fair Cause and Loser Lawyers
The former ambassador began a narrative of historical positions and events. He summarized the Palestinian political activities during the past seventy-five years, opening the meeting by stating: “The Palestinian cause is just, but its lawyer (the Palestinian leaders) are losers”. He added, “The Palestinians have always bet on the losing side”, stressing that, “what happened and what is happening is the price that the Palestinians have to pay for policies of their leaders.”.
The losing bets
Prince Bandar mentioned the position of Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Al-Quds in the 1930s when he bet on Nazism, which did not benefit the Palestinians politically or economically. The same position was repeated in 1990, when Yasser Arafat visited Saddam Hussein to congratulate him on invading Kuwait, even though Kuwait was the country that witnessed and supported the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization and hosted the Palestinian leaders!
The Egyptians tried to save the Palestinians from themselves
Ambassador Bandar continued. Since 2011, until today, with His Excellency President El-Sisi, Egypt has been working a lot to unify the Palestinians. Successive conferences have been held to reconcile the Palestinian Authority with Hamas, asking: How can the world come to terms with the Palestinians while they do not have a unified representation? Stressing that this is not new in the context of hostility and mutual accusations of betrayal among the Palestinians.
The Saudi Part to Save the Palestinians from themselves
The late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud brought together the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Makkah. After rounds of Saudi mediation in the negotiation between the two parties, the Saudi efforts culminated in a constructive agreement, and the two parties swore at the Sacred House of Allah and in front of the Palestinians and the world to commit to this agreement.
Just days after the agreement, news came out that both parties abandoned the agreement and started a new round of mutual conspiracy. The Prince added that the Saudi moral position (goodwill) that the Saudis have historically enjoyed, was behind the Saudis’ repeated offer of assistance and advice, but the Palestinians were taking help and rejecting the advice. Instead, they took a completely opposite direction to the Saudi advice, they failed. They then kept repeating the same mistakes.
Prince Bandar stressed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always stood alongside the Palestinian stances against the world, despite the Saudis’ knowledge of the errors of the Palestinian stances. This was in order to preserve the strategy of the principle of justice for the Palestinian cause.
Saudi High Moral Position VS Palestinian indifference
The Prince added that as a result, Palestinian positions were characterized by indifference. The Palestinians became convinced that there is no price they have to pay for any wrong decision they would take towards Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arabian Gulf states.
The ambassador clarified that the Palestinian people should be aware of the situations and events that were not shed light on but express the truth, asking, “Do the Palestinians consider Iran as an ally, which is the one that trades with their cause at their expense? Which is destroying Yemen, Lebanon and Syria exploiting their cause?”.
The Palestinian Fight Against the Palestinian Cause
He added that Hamas leaders went to Ankara to thank the Turks after Erdogan announced his intention to take back the Turkish ambassador from the UAE because of the peace agreement! Astonishingly: Why the Palestinians did not ask Erdogan to expel the Israeli ambassador in Ankara and to take back the Turkish ambassador from Tel Aviv?!
He explained that the hearts of the Palestinian leaders are sick, referring to a verse from the Qur’an on what Palestinian leaders should do to overcome the repeated failure and the danger they represent to their cause, (Indeed, Allāh will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves), 13:11.
In Prince Bandar’s historical narrative on the Palestinian cause, he recalled the 1939 British invitation to a conference in London. There, Palestinians and Jews were invited, and some other countries, including Saudi Arabia headed by Prince Faisal (King Faisal), accompanied by Prince Khaled (King Khalid).
The Palestinians and the Jews together rejected the British offer, and Saudi Arabia supported the Palestinian position. After the outbreak of World War II, the Palestinian cause became a marginal for the super powers. Meanwhile, armed gangs were formed in Israel to carry out attacks against Palestinian civilians through assassinations and terrorist operations, and Palestinian resistance groups were formed.
The Historic Saudi-American Meeting
Just before the end of World War II, in February 1945, the late Saudi founder King Abdulaziz Al Saud met with US President Roosevelt, and the Palestinian cause took the greatest place among the meeting’s agenda. Weeks later, in March of the same year, King Abdulaziz sent a lengthy letter to President Roosevelt to consolidate what was discussed in the famous meeting, then came the American response from President Roosevelt.
Prince Bandar explained that his purpose in this historical narrative is to entrench these moral Saudi attitudes from the beginning towards the Palestinian cause, in the awareness and culture of Saudis.
The End of the British Mandate
After the establishment of the Arab League and the United Nations, of which Saudi Arabia was a founding member in 1945, in 1947 the British decided to end the mandate over Palestine. They began to coordinate to find a compromise that the Palestinians and the Jews could accept. They did not succeed, so they went to the United Nations, the emerging international organization. The Security Council decided on the partition resolution 181, and from that historical moment, the Palestinians have repeated the same mistake. The Palestinians rejected the resolution 181 while the Jews intelligently accepted it politically and rejected it in practice. The resolution established two independent states (Palestine and Israel). As a result of Israel accepting the resolution, it was recognized as a sovereign state and was recognized as a member of the UN. The Palestinians’ rejection of the resolution led to their being ignored by the major powers.
The Prince reiterated that the Palestinians have continued to make losing bets since then. The Palestinians kept wishing for a return to decisions that are no longer on the international table and are not up for discussion, such as Resolution 181. After the outbreak of the 1948 war that was a result of successive Israeli attacks against the Palestinians, the Arab League decided to join the war to help the Palestinians.
Zionist Immigration to Palestine
Prince Bandar returned, in 1967. There were zero Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan, and Sinai. Three years later, 1970, Israel built settlements for 30,000 Jewish immigrants, in 1973 more than 100,000 settlers, 300,000 settlers in 1978, and today there are more than 600 thousand Jewish settlers.
The Saudi Counter Project
King Abdulaziz put forward a proposal to members of the Arab League, rejecting Palestinian immigration. It did not allow Palestinians to emigrate abroad because they would be placed in camps. If the Palestinians’ stay in their land, it will provide a strong positive impact over time on the Palestinian reality. Inside, with support of money, weapons, and volunteers to fight, a Palestinian immigration to Palestine would be a counter for the Jewish immigration to Palestine.
The rejection of the Saudi Project
The Arab League rejected this Saudi proposal, and Saudi Arabia decided not to violate the consensus in order for the regional security strategies to prevail. This rejection was the door to a comprehensive tragedy that has continued since 1948.
The Triple Aggression 1956 (Suez Crisis)
1956 was the year of the tripartite aggression against Egypt, which was led by two superpowers that are members of the Security Council (Britain and France) in addition to Israel. It failed because the rejection of the United States led by President Eisenhower, as well as the rejection by the Soviet Union. Another factor is that the late Egyptian President Gamal AbduNnasser smartly decided not to involve Egypt into a direct military confrontation because their army was not prepared. Instead, he adopted a strategy of popular resistance focused on the axis of the Suez Canal, followed by the Israeli occupation of the Egyptian Sinai desert and the withdrawal of the British and French.
The Defeat of the 1967 War
The Egyptian move to close the Gulf of Aqaba was compatible with the Israeli desire to launch a new expansionary war. This ignited the 1967 war, which was a great catastrophe for Egypt, the Palestinians and the whole region. AbduNnasser made the decision to go to war based on inaccurate information from the military leadership. The result was that Israel occupied Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan, and Jerusalem. This was the biggest disaster and historic defeat that befell the region after World War II. After that, Egyptian President AbduNnasser focused on rebuilding the Egyptian army and saving the Palestinians from themselves.
The dispute did not prevent Saudi Arabia from providing assistance
There was a deep dispute between Saudi Arabia and Egypt over Yemen. Before the tripartite aggression, Egyptian aircrafts were striking the southern Saudi cities of Najran and Jizan. After the outbreak of the tripartite aggression, Saudi Arabia offered to provide support to Egypt. Egypt requested the Saudis to receive Egyptian aircrafts (that were bombing Saudi Arabia) from Yemen and Sudan. Egypt aircrafts also wanted to fly in and out of Jeddah in Western Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Military Support for the Palestinian Cause
Since the 1948 war, the Saudi army has been involved with three thousand fighters fully equipped on the Egyptian front and inside Palestine to support the military efforts. The Saudi soldiers did well, according to the testimonies of the Egyptians, and 150 Saudi soldiers were martyred. The regular Saudi army was newly established at the time and the other armies did not have the appropriate capabilities as well.
The late commander of the Saudi Western Military Region, Major General Mansour Al-Shuaibi, proposed to the late Minister of Defense Prince Sultan to document the presence of Egyptian aircrafts in Jeddah in pictures, so that this could be used against the Egyptians if a new dispute occurred. King Faisal then strongly rejected that proposal, stressing that he will punish anyone who documents anything to use against the Egyptians.
A section of the Saudi army moved from Tabuk in southern Saudi Arabia towards the Jordanian front closest and most appropriate to Saudi capabilities. The war then quickly stopped and it is referred to as, “The Six-Day War”.
King Hussein and President AbduNnasser requested that the Saudi force to remain in Jordan, and it remained there from 1967 to 1973. Jordan decided not to engage in the 1973 war, and King Faisal transferred the Saudi forces from Jordan to fight alongside the Syrian forces on the Golan front, then a ceasefire took place, and the Saudi forces remained there until 1979.
The former Saudi ambassador stressed that no one has the right to outbid or question the Saudi attitudes. Saudis actively participate in good times as well as bad times in word and actions.
Black September, Lebanese Civil War & Israeli Occupation of Lebanon
The Palestinians decided in September 1970 that the time had come to occupy Jordan instead of liberating Palestine! They failed and then emigrated and decided to occupy Lebanon and ignite a Lebanese civil war. Soon afterwards, Israel invaded Lebanon, where for the first time Israel reached a capital of another country.
The international context today is completely different
The nature of politics has changed now from what it was in the past. Today is the era of the rapid spread of information, and the majority of the world’s population receives news quickly through the Internet and social media. Few people read newspapers, tv stations carry a toxic and false ideology, such as Al-Jazeera, (which has become an Iranian tv just like Al-Manar of Hezbollat).
The Prince established that the Qatari people are just brothers and sisters to the Saudis, but the Qatari regime is marginal. It is not worth the time or reactions more than boycotts and is to be ignored. He likened the Qatari regime to a tick insect that may harm a camel a little bit but no more.
The Israelis worked hard VS The Classic Palestinian Position
Since the Palestinians rejected the 181 resolution, they have rejected other peace treaties, such as the resolution 242 in 1967. The Camp David Accord, which was rejected by the Palestinians and the Arab League, and Sadat’s decision in the peace agreement, caused a boycott by the countries of the region, of Egypt. The Palestinians rejected the clause of self-rule and accused Sadat of treason!
Throughout that long period, Israel was focusing to build it’s military power, it’s political and economic alliances. Israel expanded settlements, built new ones, fought at important focal points around the world, while the countries of the region were preoccupied with intra-regional disputes led by Palestinian leaders.
The Palestinian Wishful Thinking
After the September 1993 Oslo Accords, Prince Bandar asked Yasser Arafat about his opinion of the self-rule annex in the 1978 Camp David Accords. Arafat replied that it was ten times better than the Oslo Accords and that he wanted to agree to Camp David claiming that Syrian President Hafez al-Assad has threatened to kill him and destroy the Palestinian cause.
Prince Bandar concludes in the first part of this interview that “Arafat could have bravely saved millions of Palestinians at the time”, but he did not.
You can watch the translated interview here