by Baruch Yedid
(TPS) — The level of concern is rising in Ramallah after Qatar accepted the American Deal of the Century as a basis for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A joint statement by the United States and Qatar on Sept. 18 on the strategic dialogue raised tensions in the Palestinian Authority and there is a growing understating that Qatar is becoming an important link in the implementation of American policy, says a source in Ramallah.
The joint statement made by the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani comes after lengthy contacts between the U.S. and Qatar, and among other things, it includes a clause in which Qatar recognizes the American vision as a basis for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Following the news on the joint statement and a series of memoranda of understanding accompanying it, Fatah spokesman Mוnir Ja’ub said that “Qatar is now in a hurry to join the normalization of relations and the Deal of the Century.”
Various elements in the Palestinian factions condemned the Qatari move and stated that it was a continuation of the trend of “normalizing relations with the occupation,” while various media outlets praised Qatar for being the first Arab state to accept the Deal of the Century.
On the other hand, PA head Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said that the official Palestinian position will be published later, apparently out of a desire to avoid criticizing Qatar, and so far the PA has not issued any official statement on the matter.
A few weeks ago, Abbas banned criticism of the Qataris for their involvement in the mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas.
Following criticism from Palestinian sources, the Qatari Foreign Ministry issued a statement rejecting the incitement campaigns and emphasized Qatar’s siding with the Palestinians and underscoring their right to an independent state.
Saeb Erekat, a senior PLO official, tweeted and expressed appreciation for the Qatari position regarding the need to “end the Israeli occupation” and bring about their independence, but behind the scenes, various sources say, there is growing concern that Qatar is expected to join the agreement with Israel.
The American-Qatari statement, also as published on the U.S. State Department website, completely ignores the Palestinian Authority while expressing concern about the civilian situation in Gaza.
The United States also expresses appreciation for Qatar’s role in promoting initiatives with Sudan, Somalia and for its involvement in the Taliban issue, but did not address the Palestinian Authority at all.
The statement also deals with the United States’ agreement to sell $26 billion worth of weapons to Qatar and a series of memoranda on education, culture, sports, energy, aviation and the fight against terrorism.
In this context, it should be noted that the United States considers Hamas a terrorist organization.
Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS on 5 March, 2020