Senior Palestinian official and former peace negotiator Nabil Shaath said in an recent interview that if the Western world does not pay attention to the Arab cause, it risks more plane hijackings and global economic crises emanating from the Middle East.
In the interview, translated and released by MEMRI, Shaath slammed efforts to make peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and had special criticism for the American role in peace negotiations, saying, “Anything is better than American control of the negotiations. Anything. The US has never been a reliable honest broker. Never.”
He added that the US was “the strategic ally of Israel. Period.”
He said that the PA wanted an alternative negotiating strategy, referencing PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s call for talks “similar to the P5+1 framework”, which negotiated the recently-implemented Iran nuclear deal.
Unfortunately, he admitted, the US would have to be a part of such a committee, but the PA also wants France, Germany, Britain, the EU, Russia, China, Brazil, and India on board. He also demanded an Arab partner. “From the Arab countries we want Egypt at least. We want a small international framework,” he said.
Shaath said that the Western world was indifferent to Arab suffering, and only took an interest in the Syrian crisis when faced with a deluge of refugees in their own countries.
“If the Syrian problem had not been exported to Europe through the refugees on the one hand and terrorism on the other, the Europeans would not have cared even if the entire Syrian people had died,” he accused.
The PA official said that Europe feared the entrance of “non-white, non-European, non-Anglo-Saxon races, like the Syrian refugees, the Africans and others”, which made the Syria problem “the most pressing from their perspective.”
The most disturbing moment of the interview came when Shaath essentially said that if Westerners continued to turn a blind eye to Arab plight, then the Arab world would be forced to “harm” them in order to get their attention.
He said that he often asks of Westerners, “‘Do we have to hijack your planes and destroy your airports again to make you care about our cause? Are you waiting for us to cut off your oil supply? You always wait for things to reach boiling point and explode, causing you harm, before you intervene to end the crimes and violations.’”