We cannot examine the effects of the Gulf crisis and the subsequent boycott and blockade of Qatar on the Palestinian issue and components in isolation from the strategic context of the region. It has become clear that the region’s alliances were re-structured after the Arab Spring revolutions, as Qatar’s “neighbours” explicitly drew their line in the sand from the beginning by forming and leading an alliance against these revolutions (actually fighting the revolutions), while the general political approach in Qatar was different to that adopted by its neighbours. It, along with its allies, stood with the people’s revolutions and supported the leaders publically, specifically the Islamists.
The “neighbours” saw this as overstepping their roles on one hand, and as an exaggeration and expansion of Qatar’s role and size on the other.
Therefore, two alliances formed on the ground: one supported the Arab Spring revolutions and their results, and the other supported the counter-revolutions and their results.
Dealing with the Palestinian issue by both sides occurs in the context of these generally contradicting positions. There have been frantic efforts by the “boycotting neighbours” to align with, an even exceed America’s position on the Palestinian issue in order to gain its support in their position towards Qatar. Meanwhile, Qatar did not follow this path and its position remained firm regarding the issue and its components.
What is even more deplorable in this conflict is the fact that the “boycotting neighbours’” position has exceeded taboos (at least formalities) and popular and national customs. Unprecedented official statements are made explicitly and “boldly” labelling the resistance, represented by Hamas, as terrorism, and therefore Qatar must be punished for supporting such terrorism. This aligns with Trump’s statements, on one hand, and on the other, goes beyond the Zionists’ wildest dreams. The Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, seized the opportunity and said: “The moderate Arab world understands that the real threat against it is not Jews, Zionism or Israel, but rather the radicals in the Muslim world.”
These statements did not stop there, but were followed by a systematic campaign by the official and popular media outlets distorting and defaming the fair struggle of the Palestinian people and blatantly incited against their legitimate resistance and their organisations. However, they did not make such accusations against political opponents or even enemies.
The use of the “accusation” of supporting the resistance in this conflict sets a dangerous precedent, far from the wisdom we are used to seeing in official statements. We cannot imagine an Arab, Muslim, or even free person accusing the resistance and its supporters of terrorism and to seek to punish them. This is a stroke of insanity!
We do not want the “boycotting neighbours” to forget that we all are, were, and will be fought by America and others in the name of terrorism. They are now issuing statements saying that the JASTA law is still in effect! Beware of using it to fight one another or to bully one another in our disputes!
The most dangerous issue threatening the Palestinian cause in this conflict between brothers, which occurs in light of civil conflicts in more than one Arab country as a result of the counter-revolutions, is the decline in concern with the Palestinian cause as the main cause of the nation in its long battle with Israel. It is in danger of disappearing from the Arab political agenda while we are preoccupied by our internal disputes that are close to the war of Dahis and Ghabra.
It is a sad irony that history records working to lift the blocked on Qatar rather than working to lift the blockade on Gaza.
Perhaps the fate of the Palestinian issue is to always be the sacrificial lamb offered on the altar of the Arab-Arab conflicts and the “charity” paid to improve American-Arab relations and unfortunately its Israeli extensions.
The positive indicator that did emerge from the crisis was that the general public mood on both sides of the crisis rejected this path. The height of this rejection was in the form of the hashtag rejecting the “official statements” accusing Hamas of terrorism by the Gulf.
We hope that this crisis will be resolved by dialogue and diplomatic means as soon as possible and that other parties are not allowed to interfere in resolving this internal conflict. We also hope there is no bullying, otherwise everyone will lose, as there is no winner in a war of brothers.
Finally, I will say to everyone who stood with the Palestinian people’s resistance: supporting the resistance is an honour you earned and the generations, history and the free people of the world will remember you for this. Your support has grown, angering all our enemies and pleasing all the free people of the world. Meanwhile, others have disappointed the free world and have abandoned the championing of those oppressed.
Translated from Arabi21, 13 June 2017
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.