Why Arab Regimes Don’t Trust Palestinian Leaders https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/politics-current-affairs/2020/02/why-arab-regimes-dont-trust-palestinian-leaders/

February 18, 2020 | Yoram Ettinger
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Unlike in the West, writes Yoram Ettinger, in the Arab world “historical memory is very long; nothing is forgotten [and] nothing is forgiven.” Thus, Jordan hasn’t forgotten that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) nearly overthrew its monarchy in 1970; nor has Lebanon forgotten the PLO’s role in igniting its bloody civil war. Ettinger calls attention to the less-known case of Kuwait, a country where, at the beginning of 1990, Palestinian refugees made up a fifth of the population:

Kuwait was the most generous Arab host of Palestinian migrants, providing them with a high level of social, economic, and political freedom, and facilitating their rise to senior managerial, civil-service, media, and professional positions. . . . Kuwait’s Palestinian migrants, [who included] relatives and loyalists of Yasir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, evolved into the wealthiest Palestinian migrant community. . . . The oil-producing sheikhdom levied a 5-percent excise tax on all Palestinian earnings, and transferred it to the stashed accounts of the two PLO leaders. It also extended $65 million of annual aid to the PLO.

Kuwait’s generosity [was] intended to reduce the threat of Palestinian terrorism, and constrain the explosive potential of Palestinian migrants. . . . In return for Kuwait’s hospitality and generosity, PLO leaders displayed deep sympathy toward [Kuwait’s enemy] Saddam Hussein. They spent much time in Baghdad during the months leading up to the August 1990 invasion [of Kuwait], which was facilitated by three PLO battalions stationed in Iraq and vital intelligence that was provided by Palestinians in Kuwait. The PLO [then] heralded the plunder of Kuwait, lobbying . . . against an Arab League resolution that called for military action for the liberation of Kuwait.

As a result of such instances, Arab leaders continue to pay lip service to the Palestinian cause, but little else:

Therefore, contrary to Western conventional wisdom, there has been an unbridgeable gap between . . . pro-Palestinian Arab talk and the [very different] Arab walk. Arab leaders have [followed] the fundamental Middle Eastern [aphorism], “on words one does not pay customs tax.”

Are Western democracies aware of the costly Palestinian terroristic track record? Do they intend to learn from past mistakes by avoiding—rather than repeating—them?

Read more on The Ettinger Report: http://theettingerreport.com/beware-of-a-palestinian-state-the-kuwait-lesson/

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