A Saudi journalist criticized Palestinian factions that advocate armed and violent resistance against Israel, calling it political suicide.
For decades, the Palestinians have relied on the Arab world for support in their war against Israel, and at times it did seem that the war against Israel was the focal point of the Arab world.
However, the Middle East has undergone drastic changes in the past five years, and with these changes, the Arab world has apparently recalibrated its world view and priorities.
For instance, in his January 2, 2017, column in the official Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, titled “The Palestinians Have No [Choice] But Peace,” journalist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh criticized Palestinian factions that advocate armed and violent resistance. Rejecting the option of peace is political suicide, he said.
Al-Sheikh called on the Palestinians to realize that the two-state solution is the only feasible option and that it is backed by most of the world’s countries – especially given the existing circumstances. The US Congress is expressing pro-Israel positions, and the Arab world, preoccupied with more pressing crises, no longer seems intensely concerned with the Palestinian cause.
A stubborn insistence on armed resistance will only end up hurting the Palestinians themselves, he argued, adding that Israel is currently a diplomatic powerhouse and enjoys the staunch support of the strong world powers.
“In light of this, it can be said that relying on armed resistance to confront all of these global powers, while making the option of peace, especially the two-state solution, a more remote possibility – as implied by the statements of radical Palestinians nationalists and of those purporting to be devout – constitutes a kind of political suicide that only political ignoramuses [can] condone,” the journalist wrote, according to a translation by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute).
“Another thing the Palestinians need to understand is that the Arabs of today are not the Arabs of yesterday, and that the Palestinian cause has lost ground among Arabs. This cause is no longer a top priority for them, because civil wars are literally pulverizing four Arab countries, and because fighting the ‘Islamic’ terrorism is the foremost concern that causes all Arabs, without exception, to lose sleep. It is folly to ask someone to sacrifice [tending to] his own problems and national interests in order to help [you solve] your own problems,” Al-Sheikh stressed.
“All I can say to my Palestinian brethren is that stubbornness, contrariness, and betting on the [support of] the Arab masses are a hopeless effort, and that ultimately you are the only ones who will pay the price of this stubbornness and contrariness,” he concluded.
Al-Sheikh’s column sparked diverse responses on Twitter, with some supporting his opinion and others opposing it, saying there can be no peace with “the occupier.”
A Palestinian user, Badr Madoukh, came out against Al-Sheikh’s column in several tweets; for example, “…What would you have said if your country, your land and your home had been taken by force and you and your family had been expelled from them and sent into exile?!”
Omar Abu Bakr tweeted: “Reasonable words, especially the claim that Arab attention has been diverted away from the Palestinian cause due to the Arabs’ domestic problems and their opposition to the Iranian infiltration [of Arab countries].”