July 8, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 3985

Saudi Columnist: Khaled Mash'al Is Trading in the Palestinian Cause

July 8, 2011
Syria, Saudi Arabia, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 3985

In a recent article, liberal Saudi columnist and Al-Arabiya TV presenter Turki Al-Dakhil slammed Hamas Political Bureau leader Khaled Mash'al, accusing him of supporting the Syrian regime at the expense of both the Syrian people and the Palestinian cause.

The following are excerpts:[1]

"Watching the reports on one of the [TV] channels, many questions popped into my head, including puzzlement over the diminishing [interest in] the Palestinian cause. Since December 2010, [reports] commenting on the Palestinian cause have become few, and even scarce. [Instead,] the coverage has focused on Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt – [everything] except for Palestine. This does not stem from a decline in the importance attributed to the cause, which is still considered a basic issue [preoccupying] the Arabs and Muslims. The reason for the absence of coverage is the abyss that has formed between the Palestinian statesmen and the [rest of] the world.

"Even reports on the [inter-Palestinian] reconciliation no longer [interest] the Arab viewer. According to certain TV channels, some Syrian protesters even called to expel Hamas from Syria, [after it] supported the Syrian regime against the protesters and the Syrian people. This is something that Khaled Mash'al and his supporters did not anticipate would befall [them]. In the past decade, many Palestinian [flaws] have been exposed, for instance [the fact] that the [Palestinian] cause has become a tool for bargaining, making profits, exerting pressures, and [gaining] influence. This has turned Hamas into part of the Iranian axis at the expense of the Arabs, who struggled alongside the Palestinians, whereas Iran never fired a single bullet at any Israeli target.

"That is one of many [flaws]. The [flaw] most recently [exposed] is that the Syrian regime is more important to Hamas than the Syrian people... The Syrians sought supporters after they sheltered Hamas in their homeland... but [Hamas] immediately turned into the Syrians' enemy, supporting every step taken by the [Syrian] regime.

"Had Mash'al not regarded the [Palestinian] cause as a commodity [to be traded in], and had he and his movement not.... [pursued] their own [narrow] interests, he would have made no distinction between the boy Muhammad Al-Khatib, shot by the Syrian army, and [the Palestinian boy] and Muhammad Al-Dura, who died in his father's arms after being shot by the Israeli army. [The fact that he does distinguish between them] shows us that there are Palestinian statesmen who are not interested in the Palestinian land [at all]. Palestine interests them only as [a bargaining chip] for augmenting their wealth and [promoting] their interests...

"[Mash'al's] silence, and his support for the Syrian regime at the expense of an innocent people, makes it patently clear why the reports on Palestine have diminished. But the Palestinian cause – its importance and centrality – is clearer to us than it is to the Palestinian statesmen."

[1] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), June 30, 2011

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