We Palestinians, as a new people on the stage of history, have not yet learned from the experience of those who preceded us. We always seem to be motivated by factors working against us, and let ourselves be manipulated by foreign countries who use us as proxies to further their own interests.
We are making mistakes again, one after another. We do damage to the Palestinian national interest and instead of propelling ourselves forward, we push ourselves back. We work against our own best interests by constantly lying. We all know, for instance, that there is no truth to the claim that Jesus was a Palestinian, or when we say that the Jews have no historic links to Jerusalem. We just make ourselves look ridiculous. Whoever makes such claims not only attacks Christianity but also represents the entire Palestinian narrative as a blatant lie.
The Palestinian leadership continues to destroy every chance the Palestinians might have of becoming a genuine, internationally recognized nation by insisting on demands they know the Israelis will never meet. These include the right of return for more than 11 million Palestinians to a country of eight million, and refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Israelis correctly understand both demands not as a desire to have a Palestinian state, but as a desire to have Israel's state. That impression can only be confirmed every time anyone looks at a map of Palestine: by pure coincidence, of course, it is identical to the map of Israel, only the names are different
In 1948, when we could easily have established a Palestinian state in the large territories offered by the UN, and instead joined with five Arab armies in an attempt to destroy Israel and erect Palestine in its place.
Between 1949 and 1967, we could have established a Palestinian state in the West Bank while it was still under Jordanian control, and in the Gaza Strip governed by Egypt.
During the 1970s, instead of thanking Jordan's King Hussein for taking in Palestinian refugees, Yasser Arafat and the PLO tried to overthrow him. The result was a civil war and the expulsion of the Palestinian leadership from Jordan to Lebanon.
Once in Lebanon, we set about creating a terrorist state-within-a-state, bent on subverting Lebanese sovereignty and attacking Israel. The Israelis consequently entered south Lebanon, and with the support of the Shi'ites there, we were expelled once again, this time to Tunisia.
Under Palestinian influence, Tunisia then became a hotbed of crime and international conspiracies, again endangering our hosts.
We are now following the same pattern in Syria. The Palestinian leadership first betrayed Syria's then President Hafez Assad in 1982, when elements of the PLO fought, together with the rebels, against the regime in Homs and Hama. Now, in the Syrian civil war, some Palestinian movements, mainly in the Yarmouk refugee camp, are fighting together with the rebels against President Bashar Assad.
Yasser Arafat stupidly supported Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, a choice that led to the expulsion from the area of 400,000 Palestinian white- and blue-collar workers, and doing untold damage to the Palestinian cause. When Saddam Hussein was defeated and the Iraqis withdrew from Kuwait, the extent of Arafat's mistake became evident. The Gulf States came to regard Palestinians as traitors and alienated themselves from the Palestinian cause, overtly for a long time and covertly -- with the exception of Qatar -- to this day.
The same pattern of ingratitude and thick-headedness is also being repeated by Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip. While totally disregarding what Egypt sacrificed for the sake of the Palestinian cause in its many wars against Israel, senior Hamas officials are now working to undermine Egypt and its president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, by supplying the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula with arms and training.
Hamas, composed of Sunni Muslims, has also become the willing dupe of the Iran, which is Shi'ite. Hamas is therefore openly collaborating with the arch-enemy of Sunni Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Gulf States. Iran has promised Hamas arms and money to circumvent the Palestinian Authority (PA), in an attempt to topple it. The Iranians are also trying to trying to convert members of Hamas, and eventually all Palestinians, to Shi'ite Islam.
Recently, a senior official of the Fatah's Central Committee, Abbas Zaki, spoke out in favor of Iran's plot. His remarks will not only help Hamas in its attempts to overthrow the Palestinian Authority, but could mean the end of Saudi Arabian and other Sunni-Arab Gulf States' support for the Palestinian cause. On March 11, all 22 members of the Arab League officially branded Hezbollah -- Iran's proxy -- a terrorist organization because it collaborates with the Syrian regime in slaughtering Sunnis, has terrorist cells in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and fights in the ranks of Yemen's Houthi Shi'ite rebels against Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries.
It has become painfully clear that, regardless of political affiliation, the Palestinian leadership is motivated only by greed -- with no thought to the interests of the Palestinian people.
Palestinians did not bypass the Arab politicians in the Israeli Knesset, who are among the worst offenders, as well. As soon as the Arab League voted to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization, three Arab Israeli parliamentarians, who were elected to represent Arabs inside Israel, condemned the decision. In comical language that sounded as if it had come straight out of the Cold War Kremlin, they said that declaring Hezbollah a terrorist group served the interests of "the reactionary Arab states loyal to Israel and the United States." The objective, they claimed, was to neutralize Hezbollah in order to damage the security of the "Arab nation;" turn the war towards the destruction of Lebanon, and get rid of anything that could stop America and Israel's imperialistic plans for the Middle East in general and Palestine in particular.
One can only ask why we, Sunni Palestinians, should support the Shi'ite Hezbollah, which slaughters Sunni Muslims in Syria and subverts Arab states while serving Iran's desire to keep Syria's Assad in power. What do these three Arab members of Israel's Knesset think they have in common with Hezbollah?
Why, throughout its history, have the Palestinians been the victims of so many irresponsible leaders who harm their own constituents? What makes the radicals of Hezbollah more appealing to some Arab Israeli legislators than the radicals of ISIS? Do those honorable Arab Knesset members not understand the damage they do to the Palestinian cause by challenging the Sunni Arab states, which have contributed so much to us -- both politically and economically -- over the years?
Historically, the Palestinian "liberation organizations" have had no ideology or motivation beyond the destruction of the State of Israel. They are all proxies of the countries funding them, instead of acting in accordance with the authentic national interests of the Palestinian people. In the instance of the three Arab Israeli legislators, they evidently followed instructions from the Iranians. Instead of bringing jobs, water and better education -- as they promise when they stand for election -- they sell out their people for a few crumbs of headline attention. They self-importantly parrot the Iranian line with no regard for the needs of the people who voted for them. They cynically exploit their parliamentary immunity and the defense provided them by a country they call their sworn enemy, in order to support Hezbollah and Iran, which are comfortably manipulating them.
Iran just wants to get its foot in the door. That is the reason the Iranian regime is so persistent in courting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, both Sunni organizations (as well as its own Gaza proxy group, Al-Sabireen), while it slaughters Sunnis in Syria and Iraq, and puts agents in place to overturn the Sunni governments of Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Can Iran's plot possibly be a secret from the Israeli Arab Knesset members, whose support of Hezbollah harms the interests of the Arabs inside Israel? Have these three members of Knesset forgotten the thousands of missiles Hezbollah fired into the Galilee, where so many Israeli Arabs live? Do they not understand that if Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah carries out his threat to bomb an ammonia installation in the Haifa area, thousands of Israeli Arabs will be killed? With the generous "help" of our Palestinian leaders -- and especially with the "help" of the treacherous Europeans who keep on enabling them -- any real help for the Palestinians, and the top of our mountain, look more distant than ever.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently threatened to launch missiles at an ammonia installation in northern Israel, which could kill tens of thousands of civilians -- including thousands of Israeli Arabs.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.