Two weeks ago, leading Israeli media outlets were feverishly reporting on an upcoming and ground-breaking meeting between the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, a meeting that would have marked the event well into history.
What the Israelis failed to understand was that showboating an imaginary event and hoping it would lead to the real thing was bound for failure when it came to the usurped rights of the Palestinian people.
The Trump-Kushner-Netanyahu peace plan dubbed ‘Deal of the Century’ had already been rejected by most of the world as a slap on the face of Palestinians and an open ticket for the Israeli government to pursue their apartheid policies.
The ‘Deal of the Century’, announced by US President Donald Trump, had already been rejected by the Arab League.
In a statement last week, the organisation said the plan “does not meet the minimum rights and aspirations of Palestinian people”.
To mask their motives and whitewash their crimes, Israelis desperately need Arab leaders for photo ops to display on the world stage. They just don’t seem to get it.
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan stressed that his country insists on a comprehensive solution “that guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people to establish a state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
He said Saudi Arabia will back efforts for negotiations to “end the dispute via a comprehensive solution that protects the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the meeting at the level of foreign ministers would “discuss the organisation’s position” on the US administration’s so-called peace plan.
“The OIC reaffirms its principled position and support for Palestine in the struggle to regain its legitimate rights, including the establishment of an independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital” read the statement.
It said the solution to the Palestine issue must be in accordance with international law, relevant UN resolutions, and the Arab peace initiative. Saudi State Minister for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir added that “the Palestinians have rejected this plan and made it clear that it doesn’t meet their requirements”.
With a clear rejection of the document that Netanyahu wanted so desperately for the Arabs to sign and with the Israeli elections looming around the corner, Israeli officials stepped up efforts to try to sideswipe the Arabs by targeting individual leaders for secret meetings with Netanyahu who would most certainly use the moment as bragging rights over his opponents.
Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper reported that Israeli officials “have all been working hard in recent days to organise yet another trip to an Arab country for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in advance of the March 2 election.”
The newspaper continues to state that so desperate is Netanyahu for a victory that his officials have employed the services of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to seek a public meeting “anywhere in the world at any time, but preferably before the election”.
This would be Netanyahu’s crowning glory and would most certainly swing the election results in his way.
But the Israelis seem to be forgetting someone who is also privy to whatever happens. It is the Palestinian people, a people whose rights the Saudi government has steadfastly supported. For all the oppressed people of Palestine, the Arab world stands solidly with them and no amount of political manipulation behind the scenes is going to change that.
To affirm their unchanging stance, Prince Faisal rejected the notion of such a meeting saying that “There is no meeting planned between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Saudi Arabia’s policy has been very clear since the beginning of this conflict. There are no relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the Kingdom stands firmly behind Palestine.”
The rights of the Palestinians are not something that can be bounced around loosely for election points. Nor are they something to be dismissed lightly. If the Israelis seek peace with the Arabs in a just and honourable way, they should go back to the peace plan that was proposed by the late King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, which gave all parties their rightful dues.
But over the years, the Israeli government has demonstrated that they are not really interested in upholding Palestinian rights.
They have subjugated them and driven them off their lands.
And to mask their motives and whitewash their crimes, Israelis desperately need Arab leaders for photo ops to display on the world stage. They just don’t seem to get it. Lasting peace is a two-way street.
— Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena.