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The Palestinians: The single currency for crises - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Lately, many people came out to say “no to Palestinians being exploited in the crises of some Arab regimes.” This was after demonstrations broke out at the Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp in Syria in protest at the Syrian regime sending Palestinian youth to the occupied Golan Heights, which led to them being killed at the hands of the Israeli army.

The reality of the situation in our region is that the Palestinians have become akin to a single currency being used by some Arab regimes – as well as Iran, of course – when facing a crisis. Whenever these regimes find themselves facing crises they settle their internal and external bills, either by sacrificing Palestinians, or by writing a check, or in other words exploiting the Palestinian cause!

The question here is: why did the Syrian regime send Palestinians to the occupied Golan Heights, whether this is to mark the anniversary of the occupation of the Golan Heights, the Naksa [annual Palestinian commemoration for Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six Day war], or whatever other reason, without sending any Syrian citizens as well? Indeed, how could Damascus send Palestinians to the occupied Golan Heights when Hamas itself banned Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from taking part [in the commemoration] and traveling to the borders with Israel? Why should it be the Palestinians who are placed under threat and used to settle the bills of some Arab regimes that are trading with the Palestinian cause, most notably Syria? Syria is not alone in this of course, for Saddam Hussein also previously followed this same policy in order to justify the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, as well as to justify his clinging to power and the suppression of his people. This is something that the Iranian regime has also done, and continues to do every day, in order to justify its interference in Arab affairs; and this is this same Iranian regime that has never fired a single bullet in defense of Palestine. Indeed the Palestinians have not forgotten the day that the Iranian Supreme Guide advised the Iranian people not to intervene in Israel’s last war against Gaza! Others who utilize this single currency for all crises – the Palestinians – include Hezbollah, and this is something that Hezbollah does on a regular bases. Hezbollah also did not join with the Syrians to protest along the Israeli border, although they did protest along the Israeli border last month [in commemoration of Hezbollah’s Resistance Day]; this is perhaps an indication that Hezbollah is now convinced that it is not in its interests to stand with Damascus!

Therefore, we ask ourselves: is there an honest leader amongst the Palestinian leadership who is sympathetic to the plight of his own people and who can tell the Palestinian people not to allow themselves to be used as firewood for those who want to stoke the crises in our region, whether this is Iran or anyone else? Is there nobody among the Palestinians who can say that it is not permissible to cheapen our blood and our cause in order to settle the internal and external bills of some Arab regimes that trade in the Palestinian cause? How can the Palestinians believe, for example, that Iran is concerned with the Palestinian cause when it has not fired a single bullet for its sake? What about our discovery that Israeli ships have been docking in Iranian ports over the past ten years? How can the Palestinians believe that the Syrian regime is concerned with the resistance when they have not resisted the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights over the period of occupation, except through slogans and the media? How can the Palestinians believe Hezbollah, which did not stand with Gaza when it was burning and facing Israeli aggression?

Some in Hamas, or other Palestinian factions, will say that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and this is true, but the enemy of my enemy is not my partner or my commander; the Palestinian interests must be paramount!

Therefore, what is happening today in the region is that the Palestinians have become the single currency for some regimes in our region, and they use this to settle the bill of their internal and external crises; we need an honest Palestinian leader to come out and say “no more trading on Palestine and the Palestinians.”

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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