Arabian Gulf

Palestinian officials expressed concern that Qatar may be headed toward normalizing its relations with Israel

A senior State Department official informed reporters that Washington considers Qatar as another Gulf country potentially prepared to normalize relations with Israel after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

While Palestinian officials worry that Qatar may be directed toward normalizing its ties with Israel and they declared the like this move would facilitate the execution of US President Donald Trump’s vision for Middle East peace, Peace to Prosperity, and also known as the Deal of the Century.

It should be noted that last week, the US and Qatar announced a joint statement after holding their third Strategic Dialogue on September 14-15. The two parties highlighted the bilateral relationship, opportunities to further deepen collaboration to benefit both countries. Also, the two governments declared their concern on the harmful security, economic and social impacts of the Gulf crisis on the region and affirmed their continued support for a strong and united Gulf Cooperation Council. They focused on promoting peace and a prosperous future for all in the region, and on countering regional threats.

Furthermore, the UA and Qatar debated issues of regional security, such as common efforts to defeat ISIS; working toward peace and finish the conflicts in Libya, Syria, and Yemen; political developments in Iraq; and prospects for a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as defined in the US Vision for Peace.

Bloomberg was cited what the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tim Lenderking said: Qatar has a track record of working with Israel that we think will eventually get them to a broader agreement with the Israelis. We think there’s a lot to build on, every country will move at its own pace on normalization, according to its own criteria, but we’re eager for that to happen sooner rather than later.

Qatari Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Alkhater said this week her country won’t establish diplomatic relations with Israel until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.

Palestinian officials declared that the joint US-Qatar statement, which talks about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the Trump peace vision, is a Qatari endorsement of the plan, which has been rejected by the Palestinians. In fact, the Palestinians have condemned the Trump peace vision, unveiled last January, as a conspiracy designed to liquidate the Palestinian issue and national rights. They have also been boycotting the US administration since December 2017, when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and decided to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Indeed, ties between the Palestinian Authority and Qatar have been strained in recent years due to Doha’s ongoing financial and political support for Hamas.

Monir al Jaghoub, a senior official with the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction, related that Qatar appears to be afraid that it will miss the train of normalization with Israel. He commented on Twitter: Our people and leadership have categorically rejected Trump’s plan. He also said: The Palestinian leadership cannot enter into negotiations based on this plan, which poses a threat to all the peoples of the region, because it ignores the essence of the conflict, which is the Palestinian people’s right to freedom within an independent and fully sovereign state with east Jerusalem as its capital. This is not a step towards peace.

PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani, who heads a group called the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, also accused Qatar of endorsing the Trump plan, which is rejected by the Palestinians and the international community. He declared said that there will be no security or stability in the region without ending the occupation and establishing the Palestinian state. He also said that the continued American pressure on some Arab countries to follow suit with the UAE and Bahrain is increasing before the upcoming US presidential elections.

Moreover, Bassam al-Salhi, Secretary-General of the Palestinian People’s Party and member of the PLO Executive Committee, reported that Qatar has become the first Arab country to officially endorse the Trump peace vision.

Referring to the joint US-Qatar statement, al-Salhi reported: This is a very dangerous development that confirms the importance of expediting the implementation of all that was agreed upon in the last meeting of the Palestinian factions, and most importantly, mobilizing the energies of our people to confront the dangers and renew our national project and the institutions of our people.

On his part, Walid al-Awad, another senior official with the Palestinian People’s Party, declared that Qatar’s endorsement of the Trump deal represents a declaration that it has decided to join the path of normalization [with Israel].

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