As Israel becomes fully integrated into the economies of the Arab world via trade agreements, commercial flight permission, and a host of non-cultural but powerful connections, the importance of the “Palestinian Question” shrinks. At this point, the economic and technological advantages of a relationship with Israel, as cold as it may be, dwarfs the social and quasi-religious power of a few million stateless Arabs living in self-imposed squalor.
Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz’s criticism of Palestinian leaders this week did not surprise those who have been following the deterioration of relations between the Palestinians and some Arab countries in the past few months. What is also not surprising is that the Palestinian leadership does not appear to have an idea how to stop the rapid deterioration. Palestinian officials admitted this week that they have never been forced to deal with such a barrage of criticism from Arabs.
As Abba Eban famously said, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” The “Palestinian” opportunities have come fast and furious since 1948, but they have consistently rejected them in hopes that a military victory courtesy of Israel’s Arab neighbors would hand them a country, or their own terror apparatus would unravel Israel’s political will and drive them to negotiate from a position of weakness.
And how has that worked out for them? Their people are worse off than ever, their political support has shrunk to a few countries that themselves are dealing with international pressure, and Israel is firmly in the vanguard of technologically and militarily advanced countries. It just doesn’t make sense for most Arab countries to support the pallies over the Israelis.
I guess they should have taken one of the dozen significant deals they have been offered over the years! But now? It may be too late.