|MEMRI January 26, 2017 Special Dispatch No.6757
Saudi Journalist: The Palestinians’ Reliance On Armed Resistance Is
Political Suicide; The Palestinian Cause Is No Longer The Arabs’ Primary
In his January 2, 2017 column in the official Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, titled
”The Palestinians Have No [Choice] But Peace,” journalist Muhammad Aal
Al-Sheikh criticized Palestinian factions that advocate armed resistance,
such as Hamas and radical left-wing factions, on the grounds that relying on
such resistance and rejecting the option of peace is political suicide. He
called on these factions to realize that the two-state solution is the only
option that is feasible and is backed by most of the world’s countries –
especially given the existing circumstances, with the U.S. Congress
expressing pro-Israel positions, and the Arab world, preoccupied with more
pressing crises, no longer intensely concerned with the Palestinian cause. A
stubborn insistence on armed resistance will only end up hurting the
Palestinians themselves, he concluded.
Aal Al-Sheikh’s column sparked diverse responses on Twitter, some supporting
his opinion and others opposing it. The following are excerpts from his
column, and a sampling of the reactions.
Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh: Only Political Ignoramuses Advocate Armed
Resistance; The Two-State Solution Is The Only Feasible Option
Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh (image: image: kn19.com)
”Seven out of the ten biggest [donors] supporting the [candidates] in U.S.
congressional elections are Jews; moreover, the Jewish organization AIPAC is
the most influential and important lobby in the U.S. These two facts
together transform the U.S. Congress into a parliament that protects Israel
and helps it [even] more than the Israeli Knesset itself does. I think that
many Arabs, especially the Palestinians in Gaza who purport to be devout
Muslims [i.e., Hamas], do not understand this reality and its implications:
it means that Israel derives its power and its global status from the U.S.,
which is practically the most powerful country on earth. Russia – which some
Arabs have begun betting on as the [potential solution] to their problems –
likewise sees Israel as a red line due to the power and influence of the
Jews there. The same goes for the E.U. countries, as well as Britain, Canada
”In light of this, it can be said that relying on armed resistance to
confront all of these global powers, while making the option of peace,
especially the two-state solution, a more remote possibility – as implied by
the statements of radical Palestinians nationalists and of those purporting
to be devout – constitutes a kind of political suicide that only political
ignoramuses [can] condone.
”I know the Israelis oppose the proposal of the two-state solution and
attempt to evade it. [Moreover,] this position of theirs was recently
endorsed by the U.S. Congress, when it denounced the forceful resolution
[recently passed] by the Security Council against the construction of
Israeli settlements in the West Bank… without so much as mentioning the
two-state solution. But I believe that the two-state solution is the only
available solution that can be demanded and which enjoys the support of most
of the international community.
”The insistence of the left-wing nationalists and the politically-biased
people who purport to be devout, whether Sunni or Shi’ite, on calling for
resistance ultimately serves the interests of the Israeli right. [This
insistence] provides [the Israeli right] with excuses that strengthen its
position, which [seeks to] prove that the Palestinians do not want peace or
a solution [to the conflict], but rather war. Another thing the Palestinians
need to understand is that the Arabs of today are not the Arabs of
yesterday, and that the Palestinian cause has lost ground among Arabs. This
cause is no longer a top priority for them, because civil wars are literally
pulverizing four Arab countries, and because fighting the ‘Islamic’
terrorism is the foremost concern that causes all Arabs, without exception,
to lose sleep. It is folly to ask someone to sacrifice [tending to] his own
problems and national interests in order to help [you solve] your own
”All I can say to my Palestinian brethren is that stubbornness,
contrariness, and betting on the [support of] the Arab masses are a hopeless
effort, and that ultimately you are the only ones who will pay the price of
this stubbornness and contrariness.”
Contrasting Responses To Aal Al-Sheikh’s Column: Peace Requires Concessions;
There Can Be No Peace With The Occupier
Aal Al-Sheikh’s column, which he also shared on his Twitter account, sparked
many responses from other Twitter users. While some of the responders agreed
with him and echoed his criticism of the Palestinian factions, others
expressed outrage and support for Palestinian resistance.
A user named ‘Omar Abu Bakr tweeted: ”Reasonable words, especially the claim
that Arab attention has been diverted away from the Palestinian cause due to
the Arabs’ domestic problems and their opposition to the Iranian
infiltration [of Arab countries].”
User ‘Adel Al-Maliki Al-Yafa’i, from Riyadh, tweeted: ”Well said, Mr.
Muhammad. If the Palestinians want to live in peace, they have no choice but
to make concessions, because neither the Arabs nor the Palestinians
themselves are any use [in realizing any other option]” In another tweet, he
added: ”[Even] if Israel withdrew from all the occupied territories, we
would still see the Palestinians fighting each other, because Fatah wants to
rule and Hamas thinks it is worthier [of that role]…”
A Saudi called Al-Hussein Muti’ wrote: ”The main [message] of this article
is that Hamas must openly declare its agreement to the two-state solution
based on the 1967 borders and forget the slogan ‘from the river to the
This last tweet sparked a heated response from user Muhammad Mutafail, who
tweeted, ”Hamas is the only one confronting the occupation. You should stand
by them and support them against the occupation. [Instead] you have become
an opponent of theirs who calls on them to submit to the occupier!” In
another tweet he attacked Aal Al-Sheikh: ”Go to hell, you depraved supporter
of the Zionists. Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, the Arabs and the
Muslims alone. There can be no peace with an occupier, and what was taken by
force will only be taken back by force.”
A Palestinian user, Badr Madoukh, likewise came out against Aal Al-Sheikh’s
column in several tweets. One of them said: ”…What would you have said if
your country, your land and your home had been taken by force and you and
your family had been expelled from them and sent into exile?!”
Criticism was also voiced by Jamal Rayyan, a presenter on the Al-Jazeera
channel, who shared Aal Al-Sheikh’s column on his Twitter page with the
comment: ”Given the Arab-Israeli reality he describes, this journalist
should have called on the Palestinians not to sign any capitulation
agreement until this reality changes.”
 Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), January 24, 2017.
 Twitter.com/omarabubaker907, January 24, 2017.
 Twitter.com/ADELSH711. January 24, 2017.
 Twitter.com/abuayman35, January 24, 2017.
 Twitter.com/mohammad1343m, January 24, 2017.
 Twitter.com/Bader_Madoukh, January 25, 2017.
 Twitter.com/jamalrayyan, January 24, 2017.
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