If it did anything, the landmark visit to Gaza by the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin
Khalifa al-Thani on Tuesday exposed a slew of widespread regional
First looms the contention of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail
Haniyeh that the visit ended the political and economic blockade of Gaza. This
is vitally important, coming as it does days after another ship hired by radical
leftists, the Estelle, attempted to sail from Europe to Gaza to break the
blockade that, as Haniyeh himself attests, does not exist.
Hamas and its
global coterie of cheerleaders cannot have it both ways. There either is a
blockade or there is not. Truth cannot be adjusted to whatever they find
convenient at any particular juncture.
One fact stands out
incontrovertibly. The emir entered Gaza via the Strip’s border with Egypt. Those
members of the international community who bewail the supposed “humanitarian
catastrophe” in Gaza should finally admit that the Strip is not surrounded and
enclosed by Israel.
Whatever demands are made of Israel can just as
vehemently be addressed to Egypt.
Given that the premise used to blame
Israel and to build a case for Gazan hardship does not stand up to scrutiny, it
follows logically that no humanitarian emergency exists in
Consequent to this is the persistent presentation of Gaza as a
territory still under Israeli occupation, despite the fact that there has been
no Israeli presence there since the 2005 disengagement. Gaza has shown itself to
have evolved from the Palestinian Authority’s annex into what is for all intents
and purposes a state in its own right. This de facto state is furthermore a
warlike entity, armed to the teeth with all variety of weaponry, all directed
against Israel. Gaza is hardly the vulnerable “concentration camp” that
The visit has also exposed PA President Mahmoud
Abbas as a fraud in his claim that he represents the entire Palestinian
population with an unshakable mandate to negotiate in its name. If Abbas
represents anyone, it is at most Fatah’s Ramallah fragment. He does not speak
Indeed the Qatari visit, the first by a head of state since
Hamas seized power in 2007, allowed Gaza to eclipse Ramallah and demonstrate
that the post-Arab-Spring rise of the Muslim Brotherhood favors Hamas, itself a
Israel cannot afford to downplay the Brotherhood’s
reinforced impact, via collusion among Gulf State Islamists, the Brotherhood’s
new government in Cairo and Hamas. The incendiary potential here must not be
Finally come discouraging conclusions that Israel might draw
regarding the bridges it assiduously tries to build with Arab leaders. In that
context, Qatar was an Israeli success story, or so it was widely believed in
Relations with Doha, especially trade ties, flourished since
the mid-’90. They were not formal or full, yet they were hardly covert. Everyone
knew about them.
Unnamed Qatari higher-ups had reportedly visited Israel
and Shimon Peres, then deputy premier, openly visited Qatar in 2007. Tzipi Livni
did the same a year later.
Other Israelis, such as Ehud Barak, met with
But ties were abrogated after Operation Cast Lead. Qatar
offered to restore them if Israel allowed unrestricted shipments of building
materials to Gaza. Since these can be used to build bunkers, Israel
But the Qatari transformation is not only
Qatar had become the financial sponsor of the Arab
Spring, bankrolling assorted Muslim Brotherhood insurgents and their allies. The
upheavals shaking the Arabworld were in effect orchestrated by Doha. The emir –
despite his excellent personal ties with Israelis, Americans and other
Westerners – has used his clout and wealth to bring to power and sustain
Islamist forces that are fundamentally inimical to the West, to say nothing of
their implacable hatred for the Jewish state.
Now the emir is clearly
seen as meddling in the intra-Palestinian squabbles, putting his full political
weight behind the utterly rejectionist Hamas that explicitly proclaims its
aspiration to destroy Israel. The emir underwrites his support with financial
largesse as well.
This puts him in league with particularly fanatic
It gives the lie to Qatar’s purported moderation and peaceful