Qatar- Hamas, PLO and reconciliation efforts
(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
By Dr Muhammad Al Misfer
The Arab world is on the verge of turmoil and no one knows that when one of these Arab country will be the next victim of this unrest. It is not easy for the scribes of Arab newspapers having concerns for their nation to take up the issues of Arab world in a detailed and full analysis and propose a solution due to the large number of hot issues of the region. The visit of the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister, Mohammed bin Salman, to Washington is worth paying attention to, but issues related to the battle in Fallujah and withdrawal of United Arab Emirates (UAE) from the alliance have become more important.
The issue of Iraq should be discussed in all forums, and the UAE withdrawal or plan for withdrawal from the Saudi led alliance in Yemen should be taken seriously, as the matter has short and long range impacts on GCC states and the future of the region. Yemen is dying, Syria is torn apart by Bashar and his alliances Russia, Iran and sectarian militia. Libya is also facing similar problems, Algeria is crying at the hands of a ghost, Tunisia is scared of failing its political experiment. The Arab World is really facing many problems and disasters which needs serious scribes to dig deep to find an appropriate solution to cope with these troubles.
I would like to focus our attention on an issue concerning for our nation which is the Palestinian Authority (AU). Under the AU rules, the number of Palestinian prisoners in Israel and West Bank have been increasing. During the rule of the Palestinian Authority many more Palestinians were detained in Israeli jails and the number of prisoners doubled. The West Bank became a site for Israeli soldiers chasing its residents, under the nose of the Palestinian Security Forces and they did not do anything to defend the people, seemingly bewildered and unable to protect them.
More homes of Palestinian citizens were demolished by occupying forces during this tenure. Then what is the benefit of having an authority which cannot protect its people and their property?
The election of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) was held in West Bank and Gaza in 2006. It was the first election in which Hamas took part,and it won the majority of seats in PLC (parliament).The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Mohamad Dahlan gave a statement on the radio saying “It is shameful for the PLO if it accepts and participates in a government led by Hamas”. Another senior leader of PLO,Ahmad Qurai, senior leader and Oslo agreement negotiator, said in a TV statement, that he was very angry on the results of the election, saying, “Let us see what they can do”. This meant,‘What can Hamas can do in the administration of West Bank and Gaza?’.
In fact, the security agency in Gaza, led by PLO leader- Mohamad Dahlan, and blessed under the table from the high command of the PLO, refused to deal with the government that took an oath of constitution in front of President Abbas. As a result, security disorders and cases of detentions increased.
So the Minister of the Interior was forced to establish a supporting security force (executive force), but the elements of the PLO clashed this newly born force. Cases of detention rose with security disorder. Qatar’s former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani reached Gaza to try to find a formula to solve the conflicts between the PLO and Hamas, to maintain the law and order in the land of Palestinian Authority. However, Qatari mediation failed. Saudi Arabia interfered and called both parties to Mecca where they signed an agreement of reconciliation- the “Mecca Reconciliation Agreement” in February 2007. A Palestinian Unity Government was formed but it also failed because there was already insistence by the PLO that Israel should not accept Hamas.
Qatar made fresh efforts to patch up the relationship between two parties during Doha meetings held on June, 15th and 16th. The talks were held with the mediation of Qatar.
The issue of the employees of Gaza, appointed by the elected government of Haniyeh in 2006,and when the civil employees and security officials refused to work with the government of Ismail Haniyeh, was discussed. The talks failed to reach any agreement. The National Unity Government, that was formed recently, would not approve the employees of the ministries in Gaza or deal with it until Hamas accepted all the decisions of President Abbas. This means bringing back the situation where all employees getting salaries are sitting in their homes without serving the citizens in Gaza. They include teachers, judges, and doctors among others. Hamas should take financial responsibility regarding the employees appointed by it, and the authority has nothing to do with it and they are not in its budget. Is it reasonable that these citizens who served Gaza and maintained law and order, taught the students and cured the patients for a decade-long then Abbas came and removed them from a pen?
A question must be put forward: When the PLO cadres in all government jobs refused to work under the Hamas regime, as per the instruction of Abbas, so was it not right for the Hamas authority to appoint employees to replace them to serve the citizens in Gaza? Everyone admits that crimes of all types disappeared from Gaza since the end of Abbas regime. The situation of law and order has improved. Services for health, education and security became better in Gaza, despite shortage of financial resources since Hamas took the reign of power.
Why did Abbas and his people insist on dropping more than 30,000 employees who did their jobs to serve the country in the best way,in the absence of the employee of the PLO who were receiving their salaries sitting at homes?- because Abbas asked them to stop working as long as Hamas was in power.
The power of Mahmoud Abbas is divided between Riyadh, Amman and Doha. Abbas behaves well in Jordon and utters nice words about sovereignty and about holy places,and tells Jordan that their sovereignty is for Jordon. What is inside his heart only Allahknows. Jibril Al Rajub,is also in Riyadh for the same purpose and he is talking about the sovereignty over the holy places and maintenance of Dome of The Rock.
The questions are still going on in the mind. Senior negotiator of PLO Azam Ahmad failed in Doha. Al Samir also could not bring any fruitful result in the Doha meeting and Al Ahmad left Doha before Mahmoud Abbas landed at Doha airport (HIA), so Abbas could not feel discomfort in front of the Emir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for the failure of the meeting between the PLO and Hamas in Doha.
Conclusion: Egypt rejects any reconciliation conducted in Doha. Israel does not accept the communication of Abbas and his team with Hamas. Abbas does not care about the reconciliation with Gaza because he benefits from this rift.