When Mohammed Al-Emadi, Qatar’s envoy to the Gaza Strip, instructed the deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau in Gaza, Khalil al-Haya, “we wish quiet,” it epitomized the anaesthetizing rhetoric that has been a cornerstone of Qatar’s international coverage for greater than twenty years.
Qatar is a household that has a rustic. It’s rich due to its fuel reserves, however lacks any historic, spiritual or cultural heritage that would assist it model itself as a number one Mideast nation alongside, and even surpassing, its rivals, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Thus to grow to be a number one nation, Qatari Emir Hamad Al Thani, adopted by his son Tamim, determined to anaesthetize rival Arab leaders and undermine them quietly till it might oust and change them with friendlier, extra cooperative Islamist rulers. To perform this, it mobilized three vital property – the Al Jazeera tv station, former Knesset member Azmi Bishara and Sunni spiritual scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
They exploited younger Arabs’ anger and disgrace over years of exclusion and marginalization, imbued them with religion of their energy to impact change, gave them logical rationales and spiritual legitimization, and inspired them to insurgent. To grasp how vital their roles had been within the Arab uprisings of 2011, it’s sufficient to take heed to the Arab revolutionaries themselves, who in contrast Al Jazeera to freedom or oxygen given a dying man, termed Bishara “the ideologue, conscience and signpost of the rebellion” and known as Al-Qaradawi “the revolutionaries’ sheikh.”
After Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Morsi got here to energy in Egypt, the brotherhood’s celebration Ennahda took energy in Tunisia and Khaled Meshal, then head of Hamas’ political bureau, moved from Syria to Qatar. Qatar’s emir felt then that he was starting to comprehend his dream of changing Arab leaders and constructing an “Arab Union” much like the European Union.
Morsi’s ouster by Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and the latter’s determination to declare Hamas a terrorist group threatened to delay Qatar’s plans. However quickly after the emir turned the lifeline of Gaza and Hamas, whereas Gaza and Hamas turned the lifeline of Qatari international coverage.
By persuading Meshal to draft a brand new political doc extra reasonable than Hamas’ constitution and launch it in Doha, making an attempt to mediate between Fatah and Hamas, funding projects in Gaza and giving cash to its poor and unemployed, curbing Gaza’s “March of Return” protests to the required minimal and inspiring younger Palestinians to undertake a language of human rights and broadcast their struggling in Hebrew and English – as an example, via the web site “We Are Not Numbers” – the emir hoped to save lots of his ally Hamas and make Israelis, People, Europeans and even the hated Egyptians view it as a respectable political participant equal to the Palestinian Authority.
Israel was satisfied; it lets Al-Emadi act as Gaza’s “Uncle Sam” and helps him scale back public anger at Hamas and protect its rule. America was satisfied; it lets Qatar change it in funding UNRWA, the UN company for Palestinian refugees. Egypt was satisfied, via lack of selection; it lets Haniyeh go to Qatar.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was satisfied to cease denouncing Qatari support to Gaza, since he additionally began getting presents from Doha. And younger Palestinians had been satisfied that Qatar is the one nation which provides them hundreds of thousands of , in any case different Arab states have turned a chilly shoulder.
At first look, Qatar’s international coverage has constructive parts which might flip Hamas from a terrorist group right into a political participant and associate of the Palestinian Authority in diplomatic negotiations with Israel. However whenever you study the phrases and deeds of Qatari officers in depth, the impression you get is that Qatar doesn’t actually intend to make peace between Hamas and the PA, between Israel and the Palestinians or between Egypt and the Palestinians. Somebody who allowed Bishara, by way of the Qatari-funded web sites he runs, to incite younger Arabs to arrange “liberation squares” in Egypt and Israel, encourage Hamas and the PA to wage authorized battles in opposition to Israel in worldwide boards and depict it as a state that acts just like the Nazis; who allowed Al-Qaradawi to publish a spiritual ruling supporting anti-Israel terror; who was thought of near Osama bin Laden and even gave his household shelter; who funded radical Islamist teams in Syria; whose nation is think about sacred floor for terrorists; who cooperates with Turkey in anti-Israel propaganda campaigns; and who doesn’t respect human rights in his personal nation can’t be thought of a real associate for peace.
We have to get the Qataris out of right here, and quick. They aren’t sincere brokers for both Israelis or Palestinians. They search to ascertain an authoritarian Islamist regime in Gaza and the West Financial institution, not a liberal regime that respects human rights. They purchase younger Palestinians with support cash and by financing their faculty educations in Doha, however when these Palestinians return dwelling and dare to criticize Hamas, the Qataris received’t defend them. Younger Palestinians are simply items on the Qatari emir’s chessboard. All the things he does is supposed to make sure that no person, particularly not these younger folks, do something that may topple Hamas’ rule in Gaza and stop it from increasing to the West Financial institution.
We should always deal with Hamas as a political associate and a associate within the diplomatic course of, however we mustn’t strengthen it at the price of weakening and toppling the PA. Any diplomatic settlement should embrace each Fatah and Hamas; solely with them each as companions can we advance a two-state resolution. However the Qataris need an Islamist regime in their very own picture; they can’t be the patrons.
Ronit Marzan is a researcher in Palestinian politics and society on the College of Haifa’s Faculty of Political Science and a fellow at its Chaikin Geostrategy Institute.