The former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, has condemned the Palestinian Authority for its criticism of normalisation deals with Israel, saying that Palestinian leaders have always been “failures”. The prince made his comments in an interview with Saudi news channel Al-Arabiya which was aired yesterday.
He called the PA’s condemnation of the UAE’s recent signing of a peace deal with Israel a “transgression” and a “reprehensible discourse”. The prince added: “The Palestinian cause is a just cause but its advocates are failures, and the Israeli cause is unjust but its advocates have proven to be successful. That sums up the events of the last 70 or 75 years.”
The cause of Palestinians’ lack of success, he stated, lies with their leadership. “There is something that successive Palestinian leaderships historically share in common: they always bet on the losing side, and that comes at a price.”
Following the UAE’s normalisation of relations with Israel in August, Bahrain followed in its footsteps. This prompted many to predict that other Gulf States will also normalise relations with the Zionist state.
Saudi Arabia has not done so yet, though, and insists that it will only recognise Israel once a Palestinian state is established and when Israel abides by the two-state solution. It has, however, struck an increasingly conciliatory tone with Israel and praised the UAE’s decision to normalise relations. Riyadh has also opened Saudi air space to Israeli aircraft.
The Arab states’ normalisation of ties with Israel has caused concern among Palestinians that they are abandoning their long-time support for the Palestinian cause. Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah both oppose the peace deals and have labelled them as “a betrayal”.
Despite the Palestinians’ condemnation of the deals, a top Palestinian business leader has expressed his hope that the UAE and Bahrain will use their new relations with Israel to limit the occupation of Palestinian territory. Bashar Masri said that he would like to see such deals push for an end to the continued building of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.