Scenes of Palestinians burning and trampling flags of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and pictures of its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, have sparked a wave of protests in a number of Arab countries. Their citizens are accusing the Palestinians of ingratitude, treason and hypocrisy. The powerful reactions of many Arabs to the Palestinian campaign of incitement against the UAE --after its agreement establish relations with Israel -- are yet another sign of the increased disillusionment in the Arab world with the Palestinians.
The message the Arabs are sending to the Palestinians is roughly, "We are fed up with you and your cause. You people are ungrateful, hypocritical and vindictive. Decade after decade, we pumped billions of dollars into your coffers -- and now you have the arrogance to burn our flags and pictures of our leaders and hurl insults at us."
As Emirati academic Dr. Waseem Yousef wrote on Twitter: "It is stupid to burn my country's flag and want me to salute you." In other posts, Yousef commented on the Israel-UAE deal: "When I see the flag of my country being burned by some Palestinians because of the peace treaty with Israel – I apologize to every Israeli man if I offended him in the past."
Yousef also wrote: "The happiness of the Israeli people with the peace agreement shocked me. I was not expecting it – the peoples want peace".
Most of the Arabs who feel offended and betrayed by the Palestinians are citizens of the UAE and Saudi Arabia who have taken to social media outlets and other platforms to express their disgust with the Palestinians and their Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the most powerful supporters of Palestine," noted one of the UAE-affiliated accounts on Twitter. "Imagine that in just 17 years, Saudi Arabia paid [the Palestinians] $6 billion and the UAE $2.5 billion.This means that in 40 years, we are talking about no less than $20 billion. I expect that had we spent this money on Israel, its people would have converted to Islam."
"We spent on the Palestinians what is equivalent of the budgets of five African countries, and in the end they cursed us and accused us of being traitors," replied another UAE-affiliated social media user,referring to charges by Palestinian leaders that the UAE has "betrayed Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and Palestine" by agreeing to establish relations with Israel.
A number of Saudi and Emirati political activists and academics seized the opportunity to remind the world of the Palestinians' previous meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries, specifically Jordan and Lebanon.
The activists and academics reminded the Palestinians and other Arabs of the PLO's involvement in the 1970 Jordanian crisis, also known as Black September, when the Jordanian Armed Forces clashed with PLO members who were acting as a state within a state in the kingdom.
Tensions between the PLO and the Jordanians reached a peak in September 1970. A week after the failed assassination of King Hussein on September 1, four airliners were hijacked by the PLO's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), prompting the Jordanian government to declare martial law in the kingdom. In the next few weeks, heavy fighting erupted between the Palestinians and the Jordanian army. By the summer of 1971, all Palestinian forces had been expelled from Jordan to Lebanon.
The Saudis and Emiratis also reminded everyone of the role the PLO played in the Lebanese civil war, which erupted in 1975 and resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people.