Wrong Side of History, Again: Palestinian Leaders Lambast Middle East Summit
Israel’s hosting of this week’s Negev Summit with four Arab countries and the United States was described by leading media outlets as a “historic meeting” and a “major realignment of Middle Eastern powers.”
But while efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian dialogue were also be on the agenda, the Palestinian Authority (PA) government has warned the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, and Morocco that Jerusalem is using the conference as a way to avoid dealing with the Palestinian issue.
For its part, the US-designated Hamas terrorist group, which rules the Gaza Strip, was even blunter in its rejection of the summit. A Hamas spokesman in Gaza said it rejected “all forms of normalization with Israel,” and called on Arab countries that signed agreements with the Jewish state to reconsider.
The condemnation of a conference aimed at promoting regional stability and furthering the cause of peace is the latest example of a chronic Palestinian refusal to drop maximalist positions that serve to function as a prelude to negotiations with Israel.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas described the deals as a “stab in the back.” He made his comments at a press conference in Ramallah that was attended by members of the Iranian-sponsored Hamas and Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist groups.
The 2019 US-led “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop in Bahrain brought together Arab dignitaries as well as Israelis. The two-day event included a White House economic proposal for the Palestinians — to the tune of tens of billions of dollars — that, once again, drew nothing but condemnation from Ramallah.
It was subsequently revealed that the Palestinian Authority, which had boycotted the gathering in Manama, targeted — and in some cases tortured — Palestinians who decided to participate.
The summit in Israel is partly connected to the Iranian nuclear threat and its ongoing destabilization of regional stability. Some Arab countries are increasingly concerned by Tehran’s investments in its ballistic missile program, and its building up of a network of violent proxies that are wreaking havoc throughout the Middle East.
Iran’s policy is known as the “axis of resistance,” an amalgamation of Tehran-sponsored terrorist outfits including Hamas and PIJ. This radical alliance threatens Israel, Gulf states, and the entire world.
Palestinian leaders have for decades been on the wrong side of history. In 1991, for example, the US targeted Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait, and supported the aim of liberating the people who had long suffered under the rule of Saddam Hussein. But the Palestinian populace and leadership engaged in frequent pro-Hussein and anti-American demonstrations.
What is generally unknown is that Kuwait, because of Iraq’s invasion and the Palestinian support thereof, expelled some 400,000 Palestinians from the country. This episode is one of the most misunderstood in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Going further back, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini — who was essentially the leader of Arabs in British Mandatory Palestine — served as an ally and propagandist for the Nazis. He met with Hitler and pledged to help exterminate Jews in the Middle East — and he is known as one of the “founding fathers” of Palestinian nationalism.
Al-Husseini remains a respected figure in Palestinian society. He has been praised by PA President Abbas as a “hero” and a “pioneer.”
The Middle East landscape is rapidly changing. Nevertheless, the Palestinian leadership refuses to embrace the principles of normalization that underpin the Abraham Accords.