Mohammed Abbas, Abu Mazen, the new chairman of the PLO apologized yesterday to the Kuwaiti government for the alleged Palestinian support of Saddam Hussein in his invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Although the Kuwaiti government did not make it an outright condition for this apology to take place before the visit, however, members of the Kuwaiti parliament insisted on it and some even rejected it as not enough.
In the first, the Kuwaiti claim that Yaser Arafat, the PLO, and by extension the Palestinian people had supported Saddam Hussein in his invasion of Kuwait is a faux claim, without merit and spiteful.
The truth of the matter was that Arafat had objected settling of the conflict, between Iraq and Kuwait, through American military intervention and wanted an Arab, rather than an American solution to the conflict.
The official Palestinian position at the time was, as told to me a while back, in an interview, with Mr. Farouk Kadoumi, the PLO’s foreign Minster, who said that the PLO had never supported Saddam’s occupation of Kuwait, and at the same time had opposed American military involvement which in the eyes of the PLO would strengthen Israeli against all of the Arabs.
Kadoumi added that while Arab foreign ministers were meeting in Cairo right before the start of the war to try to solve the problem through the Arab league, the Kuwaitis and some of their pro-war Arab supporters were pushing for War as if it was a done deal already. And it was.
The Palestinians along with another 200 million Arab and hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world simply opposed a war that will in the process kill and destroy hundreds of thousands Iraqis and at the same time did not support Saddam’s invasion or his occupation of Kuwait.
It is fair to say that Kuwait was the cradle from which the Fatah movement sprang from. It had opened its doors and pockets to all of the Palestinian leadership to move freely and get unlimited and generous popular and official support. Many Kuwaitis had supported and some even fought along side the Palestinians.
But that did not mean that there were an undercurrent of hatred and racism against Palestinians and other "poor" Arabs (Lebanese, Syrians, Egyptians, Sudanese, etc.) by the Kuwaiti elites who viewed those poor but highly educated Arabs as servants and minions.
This institutionalized hatred and humiliating treatment of other Arabs is still persisting today.
It is also fair to say that the PLO under the late President Arafat leadership had made many strategic mistakes by inter-mingling in Arab politics or support this dictator or that.
Getting involved in Lebanon’s problems during that country’s civil war or meddling in Jordanian affairs in the seventies or Saddam’s occupation of Kuwait was none of the Palestinian leadership business.
The Palestinian leadership mission and mandate was, and still is, to work on solving the Palestinian problems and nothing else.
Abu Mazen’s apology is viewed by many Palestinians as an insult and total disregard to the Palestinian victims of Kuwaiti atrocities and one more victory for the rich and another bludgeoning blow to the wretched.
Moreover, Abu Mazen, if I may venture to say, does not represent the will of the Palestinian people. At best, he represents about a 100 or so “Abu” who share part of the blame for the many massacres and tragedies that had befallen on the Palestinian people.
This apology came as if it was not enough for the Kuwaitis to destroy the lives of four hundred thousand Palestinian and kick them out of Kuwait like stampeding cattle, while in the process killing men and raping women pillaging their property like Vandals looting the booty.
Palestinians in Kuwait committed no crimes against the Kuwaitis, killed no Kuwaitis, and on top of that many were killed or had their property taken away by saddam’s ragtag army, and yet the Kuwaitis have the audacity to ask for an apology.
If anything, it is the Palestinians who should be asking for justice for their fallen victims, not an apology, but that has to wait until Justice wakes up.