With every crisis that afflicts us Arabs, we never say that we have learnt our lesson; we say that we have hit rock bottom. But then we discover that worse is yet to come, and of course what’s worse than hitting rock bottom is hitting lower than rock bottom. This is what we are witnessing today in light of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, and the Arab divide.
We watched the show as it took place in the sister nation of Qatar. We listened to those in attendance including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Syrian President [Bashar al Assad], Khaled Mishal and others. The most important question remains however; what effect did this have on the Gaza crisis and the distraught people of Gaza? The answer is none whatsoever!
Ahmadinejad lectured us about our pan-Arabism and the necessity of cutting all ties with Israel. The Syrian began with the concept of an eye for an eye, and stated that what was taken by force can only be regained by force. Moreover, he announced that the Arab initiative was dead.
This was all said by the Syrian leader of resistance as he sat with others in a hall located just a few kilometers away from the biggest US military base in the Middle East, and opposite the Israeli trade office in Doha. Qatar announced that it would only freeze its operations, not that it would cut ties with the Israelis or expel them!
We expected Ahmadinejad to say that during his speech, Shahab missiles had been launched towards Tel Aviv. We expected the Syrian to state that during his speech – in accordance with the principles of an eye for an eye, and regaining by force all that was taken by force – courageous soldiers had liberated the Golan front.
But none of that happened for a simple reason; the goal of those attending the Qatar meeting is not to rescue Gaza or defend the Palestinians but to undermine Saudi Arabia and Egypt and to further divide the Palestinian rank. The proof of this lies in Khaled Mishal’s invitation to Doha.
Mishal said things that Israel would not dare say, and if one of the Arabs had made such comments then surely the gallows would have been prepared for him. He said that the pain and harm [caused] in Gaza is only temporary! This is what he said as we face a death toll of over 1000 with over 5000 wounded!
Has Palestinian blood been cheapened to such an extent? Is that how you describe Israeli brutality in Gaza, as “temporary” pain? Now we understand why most of Hamas’s leaders in Gaza who were eliminated were eliminated in their houses!
It is for one simple reason that I say that what we witnessed in Doha resembled a theatre show; whilst those attending the meeting sat in the hall in Qatar trying to sell us delusions, Israel was signing a memorandum of understanding with the United States to prevent the smuggling of weapons [into Gaza] through crossings. This indicates the beginning of the end of the Israeli aggression against Gaza, as a result of the Egyptian initiative which was behind the Security Council’s resolution for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, for which Saudi Arabia also made every effort.
Therefore, what we witnessed in Doha focused on two issues: consolidating the authority of Hamas and Khaled Mishal after everything that Hamas has done to the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause, and paving the way for announcing the victory of the Iranian-Syrian-Qatari alliance with Hamas as the halt to aggression draws near.
Their victory lies not in rescuing Gaza, or defeating the Israeli enemy; it lies in cancelling the active and trustworthy Arab role undertaken by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. That is all they want to do in Doha
* Published in the London based ASHARQ ALAWSAT on Jan. 17.