While rapid progress is being made with Arab countries that are normalizing ties with Israel, the Palestinian’s “leadership problem” is blocking a peace process that its people wants, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman told The Media Line in a recent interview
Friedman compared the warmth from the Arab Gulf states to the current Palestinian stubbornness to change.
“I think the Palestinians are sort of in one of those final stages of denial. It’s hard to watch. It’s completely self-defeating,” he said, calling it “a leadership problem.”
America has “given more money to the Palestinians compared to any other nation by a power of at least five compared to every other country. So, we’ve got nothing to apologize for in terms of our assistance to the Palestinians. But it just can’t be a bridge to nowhere, and that’s what it is right now.
“The Palestinians want to take, but they’re not willing to really engage in a serious way,” Friedman added, “and not only that, but it’s almost embarrassing the way in which they insult the United States. They express no appreciation for the help that we’ve, by the way, in which we continue to provide under the radar. So it’s really a leadership problem.”
In contrast, the Palestinians on the street will want to join the forward progress due to the Abraham Accords, in Friedman’s view.
“I think that there is a huge peace dividend that will come to the region and I believe the Palestinian people are well-educated, well-informed, and well-meaning, and I think that as they see that peace dividend, I believe like all other people, they’re going to want a part of it.
“It’s all there. They just have to sit down and act in a way which is serious, nonthreatening. Enough of the histrionics. Enough of the tantrums. Just sit down and have civilized discussions on serious issues and there’ll be progress.”