Post-war Gaza | An Arab plan conditioned on a path to a Palestinian state

Post-war Gaza | An Arab plan conditioned on a path to a Palestinian state
Post-war Gaza | An Arab plan conditioned on a path to a Palestinian state

(Dubai) As Israel continues its offensive against Hamas, Arab leaders are considering ways to support the Gaza Strip after the war, with the condition of paving the way for a Palestinian state.


Posted at 7:29 a.m.

Hashem OSSEIRAN

France Media Agency

The bet is far from won, but the quintet formed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt has made it clear that its financial and political support, crucial for the future of the devastated Gaza Strip, would have a cost.

“We worked closely on this with the Palestinians. This must be a real path to a Palestinian state,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said at a special meeting of the World Economic Forum in Riyadh last month.

“Without a real political path […] it would be very difficult for Arab countries to discuss how we are going to govern,” he warned.

This is not the first time that Arab leaders have championed the two-state solution, which could defuse tensions in the Middle East. But the war between Israel and Hamas represents for them both an emergency and an opportunity.

Last month, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Riyadh, European and Arab foreign ministers discussed ways to join efforts to move towards a two-state solution.

The war in Gaza will also top the agenda of the Arab League summit scheduled for Thursday in Bahrain.

Reform process

Arab countries are “putting pressure on the United States to obtain two things: the creation of a Palestinian state and its recognition by the United Nations,” said a Gulf Arab diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“What is currently hindering these intensive efforts is the continuation of the war and the intransigent rejection of Netanyahu,” the Israeli prime minister fiercely opposed to the two-state solution, he added.

According to Sanam Vakil of the British think tank Chatham House, Arab leaders are trying “to work with the Biden administration to mutually support the so-called day after.”

One of the central issues of this plan is the reform of the Palestinian Authority, which would unify under the same leadership the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas since 2007.

“We believe in a single Palestinian government,” Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdelrahman Al-Thani said on Tuesday. The transition should not “affect the Palestinian cause” nor “undermine the Palestinian Authority”, he added during an Economic Forum in Doha.

In March, it adopted a new government whose priority will be to work to “reunify the institutions, including by assuming responsibility for Gaza”, according to its Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa.

“We have a plan”

But the main obstacle to overcome is the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, said Emirati analyst Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, stressing that Arab efforts were also trying to reach the Israeli opposition.

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed met Israeli opposition figure Yair Lapid last month in Abu Dhabi where they discussed the need for negotiations on a two-state solution. , according to a press release from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, “there are promises that if the Israeli opposition wins the (early) elections, it could be more open and cooperative.”

Arab leaders have largely ruled out participating in the governance of Gaza or sending troops under current conditions.

Abdullah bin Zayed said on Saturday that his country refused “to be drawn into a plan to cover up the Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip.”

His Jordanian counterpart, Ayman al-Safadi, also assured last month that Arab states would not send troops to Gaza to avoid being associated with the “misery created by this war”.

As Arab countries, we have a plan. We know what we want. We want peace on the basis of the two-state solution.

Ayman al-Safadi

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two oil-rich Gulf giants, are also reluctant to foot the bill for reconstruction without guarantees.

“They definitely don’t want to be just a piggy bank. They are not prepared to simply repair Israel’s damage,” said Bernard Haykel, a Saudi Arabia specialist at Princeton University.

The UAE’s ambassador to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, warned in February that her country could “not continue to finance and then see everything we have built destroyed.” »

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