Remarkable and important are the words one could use to describe the speech delivered by the Saudi monarch, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, aimed at Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak following the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions that took place in Cairo.
There is no doubt that Egypt (and the Egyptian president), which has suffered from the injustice of its brotherly nations, deserves to be congratulated. However, more importantly, we must understand the significance of the Saudi monarch’s remarkable speech.
In his speech to the Egyptian president, the Saudi monarch said, “Undoubtedly, the efforts exerted by your Excellency clearly indicate that Egypt of the free and proud people, Egypt of Arabism and Islam, under your wise leadership, has played its hopeful and expected historical role as a government and people.” In reference to Egypt the King added, “It has proved, as it is customary, its continuing determination to find a solution for the inter-Palestinian disagreement. Tiredness and weakness have not found a way to the watchful mind of Cairo.”
The first point that should be made is that it has become clear that Riyadh and Cairo are the ones that are concerned about all the plotting against the Arab world. Some people think that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not affected by it; this is nothing but part of an organised plan to harm the region and these two countries.
Moreover, the Saudi monarch’s speech shows that there is no rivalry between Riyadh and Cairo with regards to inter-Palestinian reconciliation. Rather, Saudi’s interest is on par with Egypt’s interest to bring together the Palestinians and prevent the Palestinian Cause from becoming a playing card in the hands of foreign parties.
It is difficult to forget what Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said about Egypt and what the Iranians said about Saudi Arabia after the Israel-Gaza war as part of their organised smear-campaign against the two countries. This is the crux of the matter.
Regarding the Palestinians, the Saudis played their part through the Mecca Agreement. What happened after that happened, and today the Egyptians are completing their historical role with regards to Palestinian reconciliation. The Saudis rushed to say to Cairo that a success for the Egyptians was a success for the Saudis.
In fact, in his historical speech to the Egyptian president, King Abdullah said, “We congratulate your Excellency and our brothers in Egypt and we congratulate ourselves with you as supporters for the issues of Arab and Islamic nations.” This demonstrates the clear integration between Saudi Arabia and Egypt and this pleases all rational-minded people.
What is important today is that the Palestinians, from various factions and Hamas especially, prove that they care about reconciliation and its success and adhere to it in spite of all the difficulties that they will face. They must also show that they will prioritise the Palestinian Cause and not one ideology over another or their own limited interests.
If any of the Palestinians thwart Egypt’s efforts, they will not be pardoned; after the Mecca Agreement, Hamas realised how shocked many Arabs were at what the movement did regardless of what it said. Accordingly, whoever seeks to weaken dialogue today will bear the consequences tomorrow. Therefore, without any hesitation, Cairo must resort to naming any Arab party that seeks to thwart Palestinian reconciliation, not out of revenge but so that that party may bear the consequences vis-à-vis Arab public opinion. Saudi Arabia must also strive towards this so that those who seek destruction know that they will pay the price.