Against the background of civil wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention what is happening in Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and the Sahel countries, the army’s fight against the Islamists in Egypt, unrest in Lebanon and Turkey’s military confrontation and the Kurds, Palestinian territories seem to observers what they really are: a conflict of low intensity, not distinguished from many in the Middle East (FAS). The postulate that the problems of the region will be resolved, which seemed correct in the 80-s, should be dealt with in the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, has long outlived itself.
The then world political establishment believed that the Palestinian problem was the key to resolving internal conflicts in Jordan and Lebanon. Seriously affects the situation in Syria. Affects Egypt, Iraq and Tunisia, where, after the 1982-th lost by the Palestinians of the Lebanese war of XNUMX, Fatah fighters were evacuated and the headquarters of the PLO was relocated. The solution to the problem of international terrorism was seen in the pacification of Yasser Arafat and the partial satisfaction of his demands. Recall - in those years, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, the Taliban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and the more so the Islamic State were out of the question. FATH, DFLP, PFLP and other radical Palestinian organizations supported by Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli and Moscow, which was not a secret, were active at BSV.
The Palestinian national liberation (revolutionary or terrorist - the reader will choose the definition that seems right) the movement seemed to politicians and political scientists the same as the closely related groups in Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka. In the end, the British government managed to reach an agreement with the Irish militants. With the Tamil separatists, the Sri Lankan army ended by force (which was possible in the Palestinian case, while the Israeli leadership in 80-s did not choose a different scenario under the influence of theories prevalent in the West). And the Palestinians, having received a unique chance to build a state, have missed it.
The fact that the Palestinian state for more than twenty years, during which the entire world community has helped its formation since the establishment of Israel, did not take place, is well known. Tens of billions of dollars were spent on the widely announced process of its creation without any visible result.
There is no end to this process, and the fact that it is the same financial and political scam as many projects born within the walls of the UN is clear to most of its actors and outside observers. Moreover, both Palestinians and Israelis lost from participating in it. Another question, who is more. In any case, the collapse of bilateral relations and the degradation of Palestinian society Arafat and his heirs provided. Those who have earned a Palestinian-Israeli settlement for the third decade, participating in the distribution of funds allocated by sponsors, and making a successful career in the bureaucratic institutions supervising the topic, will not agree with this. Their interest in perpetuating the process, which has long lost all meaning, besides the well-being of those involved in it, is understandable. There is no one to interrupt the senseless walking around the negotiating circle, which cannot end in anything and that is why it ends in nothing. Gordian knot in the very classical understanding of this term. And it seems that until the regional geopolitical catastrophe breaks out, which finally removes the construction of the Palestinian state from the agenda, no one will cut it.
The growing demands of the Palestinians against Israel are called upon to thwart Ramallah’s dialogue with Jerusalem, and not to achieve results. It is clear that if a Palestinian state arises, the flow of money from sponsors will dry up very quickly. The world economic crisis, the disintegration of Syria and Iraq, the problem of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, the need for Riyadh to keep afloat the economy of overcrowded Egypt, the disastrous situation with refugees from the BW and from Africa in Europe do not leave the Palestinians any hope of preserving the usual status of first-class refugees . Today, they are dealt with at the UN by a separate agency paying more than thirty rates. Tomorrow they can stand in line with millions of Afghans, Pakistanis, Arabs and Africans who are in much more distressed condition.
As a result, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) based in Ramallah, which is constantly called autonomy (which it is not, since neither Jordan nor Israel does not control it), demands from the world community all the rights and privileges of the state Arafat took over when signing the Oslo Accords. Instead, it is attacking Israel with the support of external allies in international organizations, trying to get from it unilaterally concessions that Jerusalem cannot make - including in matters of security. This is taking into account the fact that since the spring of 1999, the Oslo prisoners and the agreements confirmed at Camp David have lost their force and Israel can denounce them at any time, it is very risky from the Palestinian side.
As a result of the described practice of the Palestinian leadership, the Government of Israel no longer recognizes Raisa PNA Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) as a real partner and, formally maintaining a dialogue with him, leading him behind the scenes and with the hostile Fatah military movement Hamas hostile to Gaza during the civil war, against which Jerusalem has conducted in recent years three military operations. Israel has not destroyed the Hamas regime in Gaza, as demanded by a number of leading politicians and the population of this country, believing that the future of the PNA is questionable, and not wanting to strengthen Abu Mazen. The alternative was the return of direct control over Gaza, which Jerusalem did not want and does not want.
Realities and rituals
At the same time, the processes in the disputed territories in Judea and Samaria are developing in parallel, where Israeli settlements are expanding despite the government’s policy, with population growth significantly changing the demographic situation in the area. The United States, the European Union, the United Nations, the domestic Foreign Ministry and all countries of the Islamic world constantly express concern about this process, supporting the PNA administration in the fight against settlements. The Israeli government, verbally expressing its readiness to promote and expand them, as required by the voters of the parties in the ruling coalition, in fact sabotage settlement activities due to the unwillingness to enter into conflicts with its partners in the international arena. But settlements are built contrary to the government of Israel.
Tellingly, they are being built by Palestinian contractors and workers. Palestinians also work in enterprises located in industrial zones of settlements. And the main buyers of settlement shopping centers in Judea and Samaria are they despite the official ban of the PNA administration and the police confiscation of goods that the Palestinian population there acquired. Much of the investment in Israeli settlements is also being made by Palestinian businessmen (for more details, see MIC No. 14, 2015).
The latter explains Ramallah’s anti-settlement policy. The cooperation of the PNA business with the Israeli settlements creates an independent of the distribution channels of financial resources controlled by the Abu Mazen administration, the Palestinian economy. That is, in Judea and Samaria - in the West Bank, wealthy Palestinian clans appear that are not under its direct control, which was also the beginning of the 90's before the appearance of the PLO in the territory. And the first thing that Arafat did there to consolidate his power was the destruction of village elders, mukhtars, and their family clans, who for decades effectively collaborated with the Israeli authorities, as before with the authorities of Jordan, the British and Turkish administrations.
For the time being, the PNA irreversibly loses influence and turns from a factor of real politics into a ritual element of the geopolitical space. Hamas, in contrast, converts its weakness into its own strength, balancing between its opponents (Egypt, Israel) and its hostile patrons (Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia), betraying one or the other of them. The government of Israel chooses between a war with Hamas and a long truce with it. Representatives of the left-wing opposition demonstrate their commitment to peace by visiting Ramallah and meeting with the PNA leaders. Consider these processes, based on the research of experts IBI E. A. Yakimova and Yu. B. Shcheglovina.
In March 2015, representatives of the United Arab List (SLA) arrived to meet with Abu Mazen. The delegation included the chairman of the faction A. Ude, the deputies D. Zahalku, M. Ganaim and U. Saadi. The subject of discussion was the discussion of pre-election statements of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the electoral success of the list. On August 18, the head of the parliamentary opposition and the leader of the Zionist camp, Yitzhak Herzog, met with Abbas. The purpose of the negotiations, he outlined the need to combat the increased terrorist threat. In August, the head of the Meretz party, Zahava Gallon, was in Ramallah, discussing “Jewish terror” against the Palestinians with Abbas. She arrived in the delegation, which included current deputies and representatives of the party list, who were not included in the KNSET of the 20.
A series of attacks for the Israelis were a series of terrorist attacks and negotiations between Silvan Shalom and Saib Ariqat, which took place in the Jordanian capital Amman in July. They had experience with the Palestinian leader. I. Herzog laid great hopes on the visit from the point of view of the development of the situation on the Palestinian-Israeli track and his political future, stressing that he is even more radical than Netanyahu in the fight against terrorism. The interest of the representatives of Meretz and the “Zionist camp” to interact with Abbas shows that the Palestinian-Israeli peace process has given rise to a struggle within Israel for the opportunity to play a leading role.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confined himself to telephone calls with the PNA’s rais, followed by a meeting of the main negotiators. According to Israeli media reports, the government is close to concluding a long-term truce with Hamas, one of the conditions of which could be the improvement of the economic situation in Gaza. In this regard, the Duke hastened to entrust himself with the task of convincing the Israelis of a possible triumph of peace in the region. Gallon was more restrained in ambitions, preferring to focus on counter-terrorism actions.
Similar motives underlie Mahmoud Abbas’s interest in the deputies of the Israeli Knesset. Concerned about the rumors about an agreement between Israel and Hamas, reproached for the illegitimacy of his power, he made contact with those of them who would not complicate his political position. An additional factor that caused Abbas’s interest in the Israeli parliamentarians was the difficulties of the PNA in the Iranian direction after, according to regional media, he was denied a visit to Tehran. Not being able to participate directly in a key process for the region related to reaching an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, he attempted to draw attention to the PNA conflict with Israel, which always brought him political dividends.
We note, however, that the contacts of the PNA leadership with representatives of the opposition do not help to reach agreements with Israel, which require cooperation with the leadership of this country. By attacking Netanyahu before the elections, the Duke could not ensure the success of his party bloc. It is difficult to believe that by stating a tougher stance against terror than the Prime Minister, he will be able to convince the Israelis that the peace process has a future. However, the center of gravity in the confrontation between Hamas and the PNA, in any case, lies in the intra-Palestinian relations and competition between the sponsoring countries, and not in the opposition of the ruling coalition and the opposition of Israel.
A characteristic feature of the modern stage of the internal struggle of the Palestinian elites was the decision of the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip to create a special service that could compete with the PNA special services, primarily with the Preventive Security Service (SPB), headed by Majid Faraj. The new structure will be headed by the former inspector of the Ministry of the Interior of the PNA Sami Naufal. It will consist of two departments: external intelligence and internal security. Experts believe that this decision was caused by serious disagreements on the issue of secret negotiations with Israel, affecting the leadership of the Palestinian power bloc.
The mediators in the negotiations were German and Qatari special services. Qatar's head of state security, Ghanem Al-Kubeisy, contacted the Israeli leadership through German colleagues about a construction agreement outside the Gaza Strip of a seaport that would be controlled by NATO forces. In addition to Qatar, this project was actively supported by Ankara. It was assumed that Hamas will help Egypt to neutralize the Islamist groups in the Sinai Peninsula and enter into a long-term truce agreement with Israel. Cairo was supposed to ease the economic blockade of Gaza. The Qataris acted as mediators in the consultations between the “man number two” in Hamas Abu Marzouk and the head of the Egyptian secret service H. Fawzi.
These consultations caused a sharp rejection of the PNA leadership and its special services, which, according to rumors, led eventually to the resignation of the PLO head Mahmoud Abbas from his post, at which he was replaced by Palestinian diplomat Saib Arikat. The confusion also began in Hamas, which was divided into “Qatari” and “Gazian” segments, the latter also splitting. In the Gaza Strip, the deal was supported by Mahmoud al-Zahar, who was closely associated with the power unit, including the Izzeddine al-Qassam Brigade. Ismail Haniyeh and the political wing came out against her. It initiated the creation of a new special service of Hamas, subordinating only to the political wing and not “clogged” by supporters of al-Zahar.
If we consider the motivations of the participants in this process, we will see disagreements for more important reasons than the desire to conclude a long-term truce with Israel. In recent months, Hamas from the Gaza Strip have been actively trying to re-establish contact with Iran in order to renew Tehran’s sponsorship, which was interrupted due to the intrigues of the Hamas leadership in the person of Khaled Mashal and his supporters in connection with the events in Syria. The terms of the new union were agreed. Hamas supporters took part in the defense of Aleppo, while the Iranians promised to ship to Gaza new types of missile weapons and renew financial support. Hamas members were invited after a long break to a “prayer breakfast” in Lebanon, which took place during the Ramadan period in Beirut on the initiative of the Iranians.
Thus, the political wing and a part of the military structures of Hamas abroad set their sights on returning the organization to the “Iranian umbrella”. Qatar decided to seize the initiative by connecting the Turks and the Germans to it. Breakthrough was difficult to wait. Doha’s argument in the form of Hamas ARE’s help to eliminate the insurgent movement in Sinai looked weighty, but Cairo did not believe it. It was Doha that stepped up the subversive actions of terrorists in Sinai and in Egyptian cities in response to the military coup and repression against the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas, however, provided it with advisers and rear bases in Gaza for the militants of the Islamic State. For this, there was urgently created a group of "Partisans of Jerusalem", positioning itself as supporters of the IG.
In Cairo and Riyadh, which responded to Qatar’s steps, after an unsuccessful attempt to reach an agreement with Mashal during his visit to Saudi Arabia, they had no illusions about Doha’s intentions. That is why there is no progress either in easing the blockade of the Gaza Strip, or in reducing terrorist activity in Sinai and in Egypt as a whole. At the same time, the requirements of Doha extended not only to the construction of the port. She needed Cairo's consent to incorporate the Brothers into the country's political life. Judging by the death sentences of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, Cairo rejects this opportunity in principle. Since this could not have been foreseen in Doha, there is reason to believe that the Qatari initiative was only a smoke screen in order to cause a systemic crisis in the Gaza Strip and the PLO as a whole. What the Qataris have achieved.
The emergence of alternative intelligence services of Hamas indicates a growing split in the Gaza Strip with unpredictable consequences. The interests of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Iran met there. The fight for Gaza for Doha is of key importance: through it, until recently, there was an supply of Islamists in Sinai. Today there is an alternative sea route from Libya, but it is not as efficient and easier to block. The ARE and Saudis have the same reasons, but with the opposite sign. Iran wants to restore influence there, as it gives him a chance to negotiate with the Arab Republic of Egypt on the Syrian conflict. It is not by chance that Bashar Asad said that the Egyptian-Syrian alliance could be a reliable barrier to the expansion of Islamists in the region. In this case, the Syrian President was referring to the "Islamic State", which for Damascus, Cairo and Tehran is a common enemy.
Is there a place for a Palestinian state in all the above-described domestic and international intrigues? The author does not see it. Does it need Cairo, Tehran, Doha, Riyadh and Jerusalem, who are disappointed in the Middle East settlement, to which the Palestinian leaders have made every effort? Not. So ultimately, everything will, as always, be reduced to a struggle for influence on the Palestinians, primarily those living in Gaza, in the own interests of each of the competing parties ...