In Doha [on Wednesday] Khalid Meshaal announced his intentions to form a new [alternative representative] authority for the Palestinian people in order to replace the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO] in what represents the first practical steps to bury the Arab Peace Initiative, and in the process reverting the Palestinian cause back to square one.
According to one Palestinian official, Meshaal's move "is the first shot fired from the rear at the Arab [Peace] Initiative." I think that this will be the first and the final shot fired in the head of serious Arab political effort for the sake of the Palestinian cause, [effectively killing it off].
[President] Obama announced that there are good ideas within the Arab Initiative, and Prince Saud Al Faisal added that the Arabs are ready for further discussions and dialogue, especially in view of the practical steps some parties are taking to kill off this Arab Initiative. These steps are founded upon what was broached at the Doha Summit last month in the presence of [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and Syrian President [Bashar al-Assad].
The termination of the Palestinian authority [PLO] will mean starting from scratch in order for a new authority to achieve international recognition; this is throwing away years of negotiation, and all that was achieved on the ground, which includes the means by which Hamas came to power i.e. the Oslo Accords [and national reconciliation]. At this point we must also recall that Hamas executed a coup against the entire political system. And so this [termination of the Palestinian authority] will also mean the end of the plan for a [free] Palestinian state, and consequently the end of the Arab [Peace] Initiative as it would be Israel's right in such a case to say that it doesn’t have a Palestinian partner; this is what Barack Obama and the Europeans will achieve, and it is at this point that we reach what can be called the crux of the matter.
The invalidation of the Arab [Peace] Initiative will allow the Syrians to officially involve Iran in the Palestinian Cause, by way of opening negotiations with America and Europe, especially since Hamas's political authority lies in Tehran and Damascus. And so when Syria begins negotiations with Israel, with U.S. guarantees, which is something that leading Israeli Prime Ministerial candidate [Benjamin] Netanyahu will not oppose, as a strong lobby in Washington supports that it is easier to achieve a solution with Syria than it is to solve the Palestinian issue. And so Damascus would remain allied with Iran, the Golan Heights would be resorted, while undoubtedly Lebanon would be a card that is "not for sale."
And so Mishal's announcement in Qatar of his intention to form a new Palestinian authority is nothing more than the implementation of what was agreed upon at the Doha Summit, and the beginnings of the establishment of the new Iranian- Syrian- Qatari axis in the region.
Some might ask; what about Hamas? Unfortunately the Muslim brotherhood-affiliated movement has consented to becoming an implement in the destruction of the Palestinian cause, and the sacrificing of Palestinian blood and the long history of armed and political struggle which led our region into long wars and which Hamas [now] wants to simply erase. Hamas has become involved in the Iranian- Syrian- Qatari axis as just a small wheel propping up a large base, allowing quick and easy movement, but not towards a solution that will result in a Palestinian state, rather in a return to decades of conflict in order to return the Palestinian cause back to square one.
What will happen is that the West Bank will fall under the jurisdiction of Jordan, or Gaza will declare itself an Islamic governorate, or fall under the administration of Egypt and destabilize it [Egypt]. This is something we have seen increasing over the past three weeks, although it [the destabilization of Egypt] began when Hamas executed a coup on the Gaza Strip.
Khalid Meshaal's announcement of his intention to form a new Palestinian authority can only be described as a suicide attack aimed at our history, and at our future. We are the sons of the region, and that is what should be noted.
*Published in the London-based ASHARQ ALAWSAT on Jan. 2.