Saudi Arabia Parts Ways with the Palestinian Cause

On March 5, Riyadh appointed Salman al-Dosari—a prominent journalist and vocal supporter of the Abraham Accords—as its new minister of information. Hussain Abdul-Hussain takes this choice as one of several signals that Saudi Arabia is inching closer to normalization with Israel:

Saudi Arabia has been the biggest supporter of Palestinians since before the establishment of Israel in 1948. When the kingdom’s founder Abdulaziz Ibn Saud met with the U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard the USS Quincy in the Red Sea in 1945, the Saudi king demanded that Jews in Palestine be settled elsewhere. But unlimited Saudi support has only bought Palestinian ungratefulness and at times, downright hate. After the Abraham Accords were announced in August 2020, Palestinians in Gaza and Ramallah burned pictures not only of the leaders of the UAE and Bahrain but also of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS).

Since then, many Palestinian pundits and activists have been accusing Saudi Arabia of betraying the cause, even though the Saudis have said repeatedly, and as late as January, that their peace with Israel is incumbent on the establishment of a Palestinian state.

While the Saudi Arabian government has practiced self-restraint by not reciprocating Palestinian hate, Saudi Arabian columnists, cartoonists, and social-media activists have been punching back. After the burning of the pictures of Saudi Arabian leaders, al-Dosari wrote that with their aggression against Saudi Arabia, the Palestinians “have liberated the kingdom from any ethical or political commitment to these parties in the future.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion