While suggestions have run wild that the Arab world is gradually "selling out" Palestinians, Palestine's prime minister remains confidant.
Rabat – Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamad Shtayyeh is adamant that the Arab world will stand by Palestine, dismissing claims of Arab betrayal after many Arab countries appeared to support Trump’s “deal of the century.”
Speaking to the BBC on President Trump’s “peace plan,” the Palestinian official vented his frustration at the US government’s unmistakably pro-Israeli stance.
Asked whether Palestinians’ categorical rejection of the deal could undermine their standing internationally, Shtayyeh suggested that the deal had been rigged from the outset to satisfy Israel’s aspirations at the expense of Palestine.
For the Palestinian prime minister, a boycott was the best way to respond to Washington’s perceived bias against Palestinian demands. “Let them call us what they want,” he insisted. The “United States has taken every measure to push us away from the negotiating table.”
He also argued that, regardless of the criticism for refusing to even consider the Trump administration’s plan, the Palestinian leadership prefers to “stick to the aspirations of our people” than be considered “good guys.”
Moment of truth
The interview’s defining moment came when the journalist asked Shtayyeh about the Arab world’s stance on Trump’s plan.
“Surely you must have expected the Arab world to clearly come out on your side, which it has not done,” the BBC journalist prefaced her question.
“We can understand the political sensitivities for some Arab countries,” came Shtayyeh’s response. “Obviously I think it’s the moment of being decisive. People who are not with us they’ll find themselves with the other side, and I think that’s unusual for the Arab world.”
Morocco was among the countries that reacted to Trump’s proposal in diplomatic language that both appreciated the “peace efforts of Trump’s administration” and maintained support for an “independent, viable and sovereign [Palestinian] state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Since the official presentation of President Trump’s infamously pro-Israel “deal of the century,” however, there have been suggestions that the Arab world is on course to “betray the Palestinian cause.”
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for example, has lambasted the Arab world for not sufficiently supporting Palestinians.
“Some Arab countries that support such a plan commit treason against Jerusalem, as well as against their own people, and more importantly against all humanity,” the Turkish president told a gathering of his party’s cadre in Ankara, according to AFP.
As far as Shtayyeh is concerned, however, the notion that the Arab world has already let Palestine down is not accurate.
He said the Palestinian leadership has received phone calls from Arab counties who have told them “having our ambassador present at [Trump and Netanyahu’s] press conference does not mean that we support the plan.”
Shtayyeh continued, “We have to really differentiate when it comes to the moment of truth. I don’t really think that the Arab world will sell out Palestinians.”