Saudis Fear Palestinian-Israeli Cooperation

An insider's look at the Middle East by veteran diplomatic correspondent Marvin Kalb: There is acute hostility between the Palestinians and many other groups in the Arab world. As a Saudi friend explained: "We Saudis have in mind that one day the Israelis and the Palestinians are going to get together. And if they get together, they┬╣re going to dominate this part of the world, and we will never, never allow that to happen." How is one to explain the antipathy, dislike, hostility, and jealousy toward the Palestinians and, at the same time, this collective embrace of the Palestinian cause? It is incredibly hypocritical. It is outrageous that they keep them in these [refugee] camps as a political tool. The State Department and now the administration are afraid that the street rebellions will end up toppling Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. That explains the tactical energy behind administration efforts to lean on the Israelis. My personal judgment is that [the media] is tilting pro-Palestinian. When the President and the Secretary of State ask Prime Minister Sharon to pull Israeli forces out of the West Bank, and Palestinians and the Arab world to proclaim opposition to terrorism, the coverage was not balanced; it was largely "get out of the West Bank." The media set it up as a collision between Israel and the United States. The word "occupy" was not used when the Americans moved into Afghanistan. "Occupation" is a tricky term that the Palestinians use all the time and it evokes strong negative feelings and images. But you have to ask yourself what is, in fact, happening. (PBS "Think Tank")

2002-06-18 00:00:00

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