The two normalisation agreements signed last September between Israel and the UAE and Israel and Bahrain were cause for optimism. The conditional conciliation agreements not only meant that two more Arab States had joined the Arab-Israeli peace club but, more importantly, they served to neutralise and freeze the “deal of the century” proposed by President Trump earlier this year. The deal granted Israel the right to annex Palestinian lands, leaving nothing but crumbs for the Palestinians to serve on the negotiation table with Israel.
But our celebration of the recent peace agreements did not last long. We had aspired that they would set the scene for persuading the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to sit down to the negotiation table with Israel to resolve the Palestinian issue. However, a peculiar yet significant news item published last week shattered that hope; because it strongly implied behind-the-scenes goings-on between Israel and Hamas. The news was printed by the Egyptian State-owned daily al-Ahram which said it was picked from the Israeli TV channel 12. It disclosed that communications had been ongoing between the Mossad and Qatar to ensure that Qatar continues to finance Hamas during the upcoming months, in order to avoid skirmishes between Gaza and Israel in case Hamas’s finances are depleted. This might lead to escalation of hostilities; the truce between Gaza and Israel would be broken, and military action may resume.
Only the naïve would take this news at face value; anyone who knows better would ask: since when was Israel an ally to Hamas, so eager to ensure it gets financing from Qatar? Can Israel be truly concerned with maintaining the truce with Gaza and avoiding military confrontation? Previous skirmishes by Hamas missiles fired on Israeli settlements were described by Israel as but “children’s games”. Notwithstanding, Israel retaliated brutally and viciously, devastating military and leadership strongholds in Gaza. So, anyone aware of the real state of affairs would never fall for the story about the Mossad’s compassionate effort to ensure Qatari financing for Hamas, allegedly to save Israel from its evil.
It is a fact that Israel has exploited Palestinian divisions to its advantage whenever the issue of negotiations was brought up. Hamas always alleged to fight for the Palestinian cause, but did nothing effective on that front, neither did it coordinate with the Palestinian Authority to together resolve the problem with Israel through negotiations. Hamas leaders never minded the Palestinian civilians living abjectly in refugee camps while Hamas officials lived luxuriously in Qatar. Israel made sure this situation was maintained because it served it well in its claims to the world that it really wished to negotiate with the Palestinians to put an end to the Middle East predicament, but was unable to do so owing to divisions among the Palestinian: with whom was Israel to negotiate?
This gruesome reality hinders any attempts to resolve the Palestinian predicament; not because of Palestinian Israeli conflict, but because of Palestinian division. This brings to mind the arduous efforts engineered by Major General Omar Suleiman (1936 – 2012), Director of the Egyptian Intelligence who time and again sponsored rounds of Palestinian conciliation sessions in the hope of uniting their ranks to form a single united front that would negotiate with Israel. Every time Suleiman would announce success in conciliating the two Palestinian sides, Hamas would renege on its pledge and its leaders would not sign the intended conciliation agreement. It became obvious to all parties that Hamas possessed neither the political will nor the desire to resolve the Palestinian issue, because this would practically exit Hamas from the political scene and deprive its leaders of the support, arms, financing and leadership they commanded as a resistance front.
Now, the Israeli Emirati and Israeli Bahraini conditional normalisation agreements offer new givens in the political game, through freezing the “deal of the century” and halting Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands. Despite the customary Palestinian condemnation of such agreements, there is a glimmer of hope of achieving Palestinian conciliation to oblige Israel to sit down to the negotiation table so that an Israeli-Palestinian border agreement would be reached. If Israel desires to throttle such efforts, it should abort any possibility for Palestinian conciliation. Accordingly, the Mossad would urge Qatar to keep financing Hamas in Gaza to avoid depletion of Hamas’s finances, leading it to provoke Israel through firing children’s missiles on Israeli settlements. Oh my! Can you now see the theatrical farce starred by Mossad, Hamas and Qatar? And no consolation for the Palestinian people. To the UAE and Bahrain I say, your efforts are appreciated.
16 October 2020