JERUSALEM, Israel – Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief blasted the Palestinian leadership for their foreign policy “failures” and outright rejection of the UAE-Israel peace deal in a scathing 40-minute interview that aired on Saudi television Monday.
“This low level of discourse is not what we expect from officials who seek to gain global support for their cause. Their transgression against the Gulf States' leadership with this reprehensible discourse is entirely unacceptable,” former intel chief and US ambassador Bandar bin Sultan told Al-Arabiya TV.
Palestinian leaders strongly condemned Israel’s normalization with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and warned other Arab states against formalizing ties with Israel. Bin Sultan accused the Palestinians of undermining their cause by missing critical opportunities to make forge ties with Israel and form their own independent state.
“The Palestinian cause is a just cause, but its advocates are failures. The Israeli cause is unjust, but its advocates are successful. That sums up the events of the last 70 or 75 years,” he said.
Bin Sultan served as the Saudi Ambassador to the US from 1983 to 2005. He was also the head of the kingdom’s intelligence agency from 2014 to 2016.
He condemned Palestinian leaders for accepting the kingdom’s aid but ignoring its advice on foreign policy.
“I believe that we in Saudi Arabia, acting on our goodwill, have always been there for them. Whenever they asked for advice and help, we would provide them with both without expecting anything in return, but they would take the help and ignore the advice. Then they would fail and turn back to us again, and we would support them again, regardless of their mistakes,” Bin Sultan said.
“I think the circumstances and times have changed, and I think it is only fair to the Palestinian people to know some truths that have been kept hidden,” he added.
Bin Sultan said infighting between the Palestinian leaders have left the Palestinian people stranded.
“Gaza Strip leaders, who have seceded from the PA to govern Gaza independently, accuse the West Bank leadership of treason, while at the same time, West Bank leadership has accused separatist Gaza Strip leaders of stabbing them in the back,” he said.
“Efforts in the past years would have been better spent on the Palestinian cause, peace initiatives, and protecting the rights of the Palestinian people to reach a point where this just, albeit robbed, cause can finally see the light, and when I say robbed, I mean both by Israel and Palestinian leaders equally,” Bin Sultan added.
Bin Sultan also blasted the Palestinians for allying themselves with Iran and Turkey.
“Who are the allies of the Palestinians now? Is it Iran, which is using the Palestinian cause as a bargaining card at the expense of the Palestinian people? Iran and Khomeini, who want to liberate Jerusalem through Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria?” he asked.
“Or is it Turkey, which Hamas leaders have thanked for its stance in support of Hamas and the Palestinian cause? That is simply because Erdogan announced that he was withdrawing his ambassador from the UAE in support of the Palestinian cause,” Bin Sultan added.
Saudi Arabia has not directly commented on the Israel-UAE deal and is not expected to follow its Gulf neighbors any time soon. However, the kingdom says it is committed to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement according to the contours of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
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