Qatar’s negotiation of the latest ceasefire in Gaza indicates that Israel wants to benefit from intra-GCC tensions.
However, since Qatar’s rift with other GCC regimes erupted in 2017, Turkey has become an integral part of intra-GCC tensions.
This will undermine Israel’s broader strategy in the region.
After the decades-long UAE-Zionist Israel relationship was announced on August 13, Palestinians have been under Israeli military attacks almost on a daily basis.
Their dire circumstances opened up an opportunity for Qatar to position itself as an alternative to the openly pro-Zionist regimes in the Muslim world.
On September 8, the Washington-based Al-Monitor, published a statement of the chairman of the Qatar Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi.
Apart from arranging the ceasefire, Al-Emadi’s statement highlighted some minor concessions which Qatar was able to get from Israel.
These included “opening a number of passages, allowing consumer goods to enter the strip, resuming talks between Israeli chamber of trade and Palestinian businessmen, and giving the green light for the construction of the American field hospital.”
Even when Israel did not have official relations with any of the GCC regimes, Qatari rulers were the only ones who openly hosted an Israeli Chamber of Commerce delegation.
Thus, it would be wrong to assume that the latest Qatari participation in the ceasefire arrangement is due to Doha’s political weight or its concern for the liberation of Al-Quds.
It is primarily an Israeli tactic to use Qatar to exert pressure on the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Doha’s seemingly principled approach is an opportunity to position itself as an honorable regional player in order to further discredit its GCC opponents.
On their own, quarrel among the primitive GCC regimes suits Israel well.
However, since Turkey has established its military presence in Qatar and prevented an anticipated Saudi military invasion, the GCC conflict is no longer confined to the grouplet.
Israel will likely exploit this situation to achieve its own policy objectives.
But Turkey’s presence puts GCC tensions beyond Israel’s manipulative capabilities as Islamic Iran is also now part of the dynamic.
Omar Ahmed, International Security and Global Governance expert, analyzing the recent meeting in Beirut between Hamas and Hizbullah leadership pointed out that “faced with the prospects of the ‘new’ Middle East taking shape in terms of the transparency of the US-Israel-Gulf bloc and other Arab states expected to follow in normalization, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the UAE and Israel could form an alliance against Iran in order to protect US interests in the Middle East, it is no surprise that Hamas’ representative in Tehran spoke about the need for an alternative alliance between Iran, Turkey and Qatar. After all the three states are the primary financial supporters of the movement.”
While Qatar’s motivations are self-serving, it has involuntarily become an important conduit through which Turkish-Iranian regional cooperation will continue to grow.
This is not a development Israel wants to see.