Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said, “We believe that normalization is in the interest of the region, that it would bring significant benefits to all. But without finding a pathway to peace for the Palestinian people, without addressing that challenge, any normalization will have limited benefits. Therefore, I think we should continue to focus on finding a pathway toward a two-state solution, on finding a pathway toward giving the Palestinians dignity and justice.” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also said something similar less than a month ago.
On the surface, these are commendable words. A two-state solution together with normalization between the Arab world and Israel sound like a dream come true. But what have the Saudis, or any Arab state, done to help the Palestinians achieve a two-state solution? Nothing as far as I can tell.
Anyone who is paying attention to the conflict knows what the root of the problem is: Palestinian rejection of Israel in any form. It started with the whole Arab world rejecting it, but now it’s mainly a Palestinian problem, with Arab states ranging from a tense peace with Israel to open hostility that uses the conflict with Israel as an excuse to prop up dictators and terrorists.
Other than Lebanon and Jordan where the population would like the multi-generational descendants of Palestinian refugees to leave some day, Arabs don’t care what happens to the Palestinians. Yet the Palestinians themselves are still living under the delusion that the Jews are European invaders who can eventually be defeated and forced to leave.
Until most Palestinians realize that their narrative of history is a pack of lies fed to them by corrupt Arab leaders, there will be no progress because most Palestinians will continue to prefer to die rather than to compromise. This is why they rejected the UN partition plan in 1947 and Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s two-state solution offer in 2000. This is why most Israelis firmly believe that no matter what Israel does, the Palestinians will continue to reject any reasonable solution, so they don’t bother trying anymore.
Is Mohammed bin Salman or Faisal bin Farhan correcting the false Palestinian narrative of history? Are they telling Palestinians that Jews have a much longer history on the land than the Palestinians do, that Jerusalem is even more sacred to them than it is to Muslims, that Israel is the Jewish home, and that Jews will never leave their home again?
No, they’re not, nor is any other Arab leader. They all continue to appease Palestinian president-for-life Mahmood Abbas through his lies about Jewish history, and they all continue to express outrage every time Israel fights back against Palestinian terrorists.
Perhaps the Saudis don’t really want normalization with Israel and they’re using the Palestinians as an excuse. Or maybe they’re simply too afraid of calling out the lies that Arab leaders, journalists, and intellectuals have been repeating for so long. An intricate web of lies becomes very hard to unravel after so much time has been spent building it.
One thing is clear, however. Saudi Arabia’s claim that it wants to achieve a two-state solution and give the Palestinians “dignity and justice” is no more than a circus act.