Following Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, ideological parties, as usual, began to exploit the Palestinian cause to settle accounts with countries they hate. The Palestinian cause is the most famous matter among ideological, leftist, nationalist and leftist networks.
Therefore, these movements’ armies were quick to harm Saudi Arabia’s image in terms of the Palestinian cause. We will not engage much in listing the honorable Saudi stances towards Palestinians because be doing so, we’d be descending into an ungainly ideological debate.
We would rather address the point of these movements’ use of the cause and the aim of criticizing Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries in the name of defending it.
It’s well-known that Arabs stood by Palestinians by way of initiatives as well as by managing negotiations and defending entities and capabilities. However, it’s no secret that Palestinian elites contributed to marginalizing and weakening the cause and gambling with it.
There have been investments by politicians who sealed deals with the Israelis to benefit from the chance to build settlements via contracting companies they own. This is in addition to other politicians who supported building the wall.
We must look at the cause rationally, which requires experts’ and media figures’ intellectual courage to go beyond political squanderingFahad Suleiman Shoqiran
Meanwhile, the Hamas movement, through some of its irresponsible behavior and destructive acts, distorted the cause’s image before Arabs and the world. Its rapprochement with Iran and Hezbollah came as an enthronement of all the destruction it caused since its establishment. Hamas does not only have an ideological Brotherhood formation but it is also managed and funded by Iran.
Hamas contributed to handing the cause over to Iran, emptied it from its content and weakened its credibility, and it’s thus responsible for the new generation’s lack of interest in it.
The Muslim Brotherhood exploited the cause to enhance its presence on the ground while the Sururist organization in Saudi Arabia exploited it at religious educational platforms. One Brotherhood magazine was actually the guide of Sururist orientation towards Palestine. Sururists would gather and read about the movement’s program, discuss governments’ weaknesses in terms of confronting Israel and looked into recruitment and confrontation possibilities.
Many articles acted like a map which helped form the ideas of the Sururist generation back then, like Fathi Yakan’s writings. Safar Al-Hawali played a significant role in establishing the organization’s orientation towards the cause, specifically via his lectures and lessons.
In 2000, he wrote the book The Day of Wrath in which he predicted the end of the state of Israel and discussed the “Jewish character” via the torah and bible. The Palestinian cause was thus the fuel that kept the movement’s members motivated.
As for al-Qaeda, it exploited the cause to enhance the capabilities of terror groups. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Al-Jazeera television channel broadcast a video attained by al-Qaeda.
It contained Bin Laden’s “famous oath” in which he said: “I swear America will not enjoy security before we live it as a reality in Palestine.” That’s what he said although the composition of al-Qaeda and the main aim of its major program is not to liberate Palestine as much as it is to topple the “infidel” governments and confront the crusaders in the Arabian Peninsula and everywhere else in the world.
However, like other terrorist movements, it wanted to exploit the cause to recruit more followers and enhance its legitimacy among youths.
The Quds brigade
The same applies to Shiite militias. Qassem Soleiman’s faction chose the name the Quds brigade. The latter, however, has nothing to do with liberating Quds. The same applies to Hezbollah whose rhetoric focuses on Jerusalem and which relies on Jerusalem as a tool of mobilize people.
Hezbollah also used the cause to carry out genocide in Syria. Hassan Nasrallah’s statements are famous for noting that the road to Jerusalem passes through Qalamun and Zabadani where they dragged women and children and where mass murder is carried out via exploiting Jerusalem and resorting to slogans about the Palestinian cause.
OPINION: On the road to Jerusalem
This is a hideous exploitation of the cause, so what’s the point of using it, of propagating slogans pertaining to it and of relying on its disturbing history? The cause has been thus used to harm humanity, violate civil values and motivate the birth of partisan movements.
Therefore, discussing the repercussions of the cause is the right reaction towards attacks on Saudi Arabia, instead of falling into the trap of bidding and making justifications or reminding of the Gulf countries’ honorable stance towards the Palestinian people.
We must look at the cause rationally and realistically, and this requires experts’ and media figures’ intellectual courage to go beyond political squandering of the cause especially that the latter has become a trading tool as Nizar Qabbani put it:
“Palestine to you was like a hen from whose precious eggs you ate, Palestine to you was like the shirt of Uthman in which you traded.”
This article is also available in Arabic.
Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.