Lebanese journalist Nadim Koteich said in a February 27, 2023 address at the Shaikh Ebrahim Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research in Bahrain that the interests of the Arabs, and particularly of Lebanon, should no longer be held "hostage" by the Palestinian cause, regardless of how justified it is. He said that Lebanon has paid a huge price for having given the Palestinian cause precedence over its own interests, that any problems between Lebanon and Israel can be resolved politically, and that the main issues plaguing the Palestinians cause are internal and unrelated to other Arab countries. Koteich's address was posted to the center's YouTube channel.
Nadim Koteich: "I cannot say whether the Lebanese support or oppose the normalization of relations with Israel. There should be a serious Lebanese debate about this. Uch a debate must not be a taboo.
"In Lebanon, this debate is not allowed. It has been hijacked by known groups and political parties.
"My personal view, as a Lebanese citizen... I do not wake up every morning asking myself what Israel has in store for me today. I do not have this obsession with Israel. Really. Okay, perhaps with regard to the Palestinian issue, Israel follows a policy that may or may not be debatable or condemnable, but as a Lebanese citizen, I can say that there is absolutely no real problem between Lebanon and Israel. There is no problem that cannot be politically resolved. Lebanon is not part of Israel's plans or of the national Israeli homeland. Throughout its occupation of Lebanon, from 1978 and until its withdrawal in 2000, Israel did not build a single settlement in Lebanon.
"The Arab interests must not continue to be held captive by the Palestinian cause, regardless of how justified this cause is. With all due respect to the Palestinian cause, it pertains to the Palestinians first and foremost, and is f secondary importance if not less, to the others. I come from a country that has paid a huge price because some of my countrymen gave precedence to the Palestinian cause over the interests and the cause of the Lebanese.
"I know that this is tough for the Palestinians, but the Palestinians are a fighting people, and one of their main achievements is independent Palestinian decision-making, which they have defended at a very high cost. Right? So, the Palestinians should also respect the independent national decisions of others – the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and others.
"Unfortunately, part of the problem of the Palestinian cause today is internal. It is not about whether Arabs support the Palestinians or not. The [Arabs] have always given their support. No revolution in the history of mankind had the same support the Palestinian revolution had. No revolution has ever been richer than the Palestinian revolution. A number of mistakes have been made by the Palestinian people themselves with regard to the Palestinian cause, and these mistakes have brought us to where we are, since the late Yasser Arafat's position during the 1990 Gulf War, to the intra-Palestinian conflict between Fatah and Hamas.
We used to talk about a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel, I believe that the region has paid a big enough price for the Palestinian issue, and it is high time that the Palestinian issue stopped being the only yard stick in the evaluation of the national interests of this or that country."