(GATESTONE INSTITUTE) – Shortly after Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority in January 2005, Egypt’s then-President Hosni Mubarak was asked what advice he would give Palestinian leaders.
Mubarak, in an interview with the Al-Arabiya television network, replied: “There has to be a new thinking about the Palestinian issue. Otherwise, we [Arabs] will continue to say no. We have been saying no for the past 50 years, and that is why we missed many opportunities. We said no to the [UN’s 1947] Partition Plan, and in 1967 we said no to recognizing Israel in return for a withdrawal [to the 1949 armistice lines]. At the time, we said that what was taken by force can only be restored by force. They have rejected everything. Now we are in a swamp. The Palestinian people are suffering due to the economic crisis. In my view, the Palestinian leadership now needs to give peace a chance. They need to sit at the negotiating table. This will send a message to the people that there is hope for peace.”
Fifteen years later, it is evident that Abbas and the Palestinian leadership never took Mubarak’s advice seriously. On the contrary, the Palestinian leaders are continuing to act not only against the advice of Mubarak and other Arabs, but also against the interests of their own people.