July 13, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10078

Former Kuwaiti Information Minister Writing In Saudi Daily: Responsibility For The Palestinians’ Suffering Rests Largely With Their Own Leadership

July 13, 2022
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10078

In an article he published recently in the Saudi daily Independent Arabia, titled “If a Palestinian State Had Been Established,” Sa’ad Bin Tefla Al-‘Ajmi, Kuwait’s former information minister, wrote that the Palestinian leadership bears no little responsibility for the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people and for the fact that no solution to their problem is in sight. He listed several reasons for this, including the endless schism and division within the leadership, and the corrupt and tyrannical character of the Palestinian authorities, both the PA authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas authorities in Gaza. He wondered what an independent Palestinian state would be like, given that the Palestinians’ models for emulation are apparently Iraq and Iran, whose rulers are responsible for widespread bloodshed and destruction. The fact that, since the establishment of the PA, not a single Israeli Arab has given up his Israeli citizenship in favor of a Palestinian one, and the fact that so many Palestinians are eager to obtain a work permit in Israel and are even willing to work in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, he said, reflects their dire situation under the rule of the PA and Hamas.

Sa’ad Bin Tefla Al-’Ajmi

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]

“I don’t believe that anyone who claims to be an advocate of justice can refrain from supporting the right of the disaster-struck Palestinian people to self-determination. The supporters of this Palestinian right fall into [three categories]: the militant ones who want to liberate all the Palestinian lands from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea; those who believe that [the Palestinians] should become part of a single state along with the Jews so as to [eventually] overcome them thanks to their demographic advantage and cultural superiority; and the majority, which supports the two-state solution, [namely] a Palestinian state alongside Israel, as a practical way to actualize the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.  

“The current U.S. administration, headed by the Democratic president Joe Biden, renewed the call for [actualizing] the two-state solution, thereby putting an end to the ‘Deal of the Century’ advocated by [Biden’s] predecessor, president Donald Trump. Biden is scheduled to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories this month and meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud ‘Abbas in Ramallah. Some hope that this visit will yield a new plan that will revive the two-state solution, but many do not see this solution in sight on the near or distant horizon. The reasons for this do not have to do only with the others. They mainly have to do with the Palestinians themselves, because the Palestinian decision[-makers] are divided between Ramallah and Gaza and the Palestinian arena is dominated by schism. And this is despite the endless series of agreements and understandings calling for Palestinian unity and the establishment of a united Palestinian government that would speak with one voice and demand the legitimate Palestinian rights.    

“In light of this schism and this all-out intra-Palestinian war, how does an observer envision the hypothetical Palestinian state? And what Arab model can the Palestinians present for the state they wish to establish?

“The official Gaza [authorities] currently praise Iran and erect mourning-tents for its martyrs, from [Iranian general] Qassem Soleimani to Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, [the deputy-commander of the Iran-backed militias in Iraq]. And in the West Bank they erected a monument in honor of Saddam Hussein and named major streets after him. In other words, [for the Palestinians,] the models of heroism in the region, whom they wish to emulate, are people like Saddam Hussein and Qassem Soleimani. The former occupied Kuwait, calling this a step towards liberating Palestine, and the latter claimed that his country had taken over Iraq, Syria and Lebanon as a step towards liberating Jerusalem. We are all familiar with the destruction inflicted by Saddam Hussein on the entire [Arab] nation, but mainly with the harm he did to the Palestinian cause and its [perception as] a just cause. As for Iran, innocent blood continues to flow in the countries it has taken over in the name of resistance and liberating Jerusalem. It is difficult to reconcile the contradictions in the Palestinian public’s logic, when [this public] admires the destructive ‘heroism’ of Saddam Hussein, who fought against their other role model, Iran, for eight years. 

“The Palestinians experience oppression and injustice first of all because of the occupation. But they also understand that their leadership bears the secondary responsibility for their ongoing suffering and oppression. Despite the occupation and oppression, the main wish of every ‘realistic’ Palestinian today is to obtain a permit to work inside Israel, even to work building new [Israeli] settlements on his soil.

 “Furthermore, it should be noted that opposing Hamas in Gaza, or the PA in the West Bank, can result in disaster and loss, torture and [even] death. We still remember the killing of civil activist Nizar Banat, who died of torture last year in a PA prison. According to independent investigations, 57 Palestinian activists have been tortured to death in the PA prisons and in Hamas’ prisons in Gaza. The Human Rights Watch [organization] likewise states that the PA and Hamas systematically employ torture in their prisons. As for the corruption, it has even reached the point of [stealing the international] aid money that is intended for the needy, and international investigative committees should to be established [to look into this matter].

“Some may think this article harsh, while others may regard it as [a description of] the bitter reality. Those who question [my] presentation of this reality should go back and examine some facts and figures: The number of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship [i.e., Israeli Arabs] is currently 1.5 million. In other words, they constitute one fifth, or 20%, of Israel’s population. How many of these Palestinians have given up their Israeli citizenship in favor of a Palestinian one since the signing of the Oslo Accords [and the forming of the PA] in 1993? The answer is: not even one.”   


[1], July 8, 2022.

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