Palestinians Need to Get Real, Says Saudi Expert

Drop the right of return, accept Israel’s existence and start to rehabilitate your reputation, Saudi analyst tells Palestinians

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: palestinians
Palestinian gunmen march through the streets of Jenin in northern Samaria on June 17, 2022.
Palestinian gunmen march through the streets of Jenin in northern Samaria on June 17, 2022. Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90

The Arab world led by Saudi Arabia has for a number of years already been downplaying the Palestinian cause that once animated the Arab League. Many of these nations have come to realize that their own national interests are better served by cooperating with Israel, which they now understand isn’t going anywhere.

On top of that, wealthier Arab states like those on the Persian Gulf have grown tired of the Palestinians’ ungrateful attitude and frequent support for the enemies of the Sunni countries.

This new phenomenon of blaming the Palestinians, not Israel, for the ongoing conflict continued this week when prominent Saudi political analyst Ali Al-Shihabi wrote in Al-Arabiya that the entire situation could be resolved if only the Palestinians would reconcile themselves to the reality of the Jewish state’s existence.

In remarks translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Shihabi noted that the Palestinians had lost respect both in the Middle East and on the global stage, and that in order to move forward they needed to rehabilitate themselves far more than they need to “reclaim” the lands controlled by Israel.

Shihabi said the simplest way to carry this out would be to have the Palestinians become citizens in an expanded Jordanian-Palestinian state that would include the West Bank and Gaza. The Saudi analyst added that the so-called “right of return” in which the Palestinians seek to flood Israel with millions of “refugees,” is unrealistic and that Arab states have until now used it to avoid naturalizing Palestinians in their countries.

“The lack of imagination, so common among leaders throughout history—with imagination being so necessary to solve this problem—combined with a Palestinian people drowning in a sea of illusions and an Israel drunk on its own power can only end in a disaster for a region that is already at the precipice,” he wrote.

With reporting by JNS.

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