Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS on 14 April, 2023

Arab Countries Seek Post-War Gaza That is ‘Neither Abbas Nor Hamas’

Public By Baruch Yedid/TPS • 25 November, 2023

Jerusalem, 25 November, 2023 (TPS) -- Arab countries are promoting a plan for post-war Gaza ruled by “neither Abbas nor Hamas,” which is being welcomed in Washington, the Tazpit Press Service has learned.

In talks hosted by Qatar and elsewhere, senior Arab officials are promoting the goal of establishing a new Palestinian body to rule the Gaza Strip, ruling out a return of the Mahmoud Abbas-led Palestinian Authority.

These countries are pressuring Hamas to clear the way to allow the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip while explicitly threatening that under Hamas the countries will refrain from any involvement and assistance in the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip.

“One dollar will not flow as long as you control the Gaza Strip, the leadership of Hamas was told,” an Arab source told the TPS, adding that the Arab countries are equally pressuring Abbas to vacate his place to allow the establishment of a new Palestinian body, which will take over the responsibility for the management of the Gaza Strip.

The new Palestinian body would be tasked with rebuilding Gaza under the auspices of significant economic aid from the Arab and Gulf countries, with Qatar playing a possible leading role.

Arab countries demand that Abbas “get out of his comfort zone” and allow a series of changes in the political composition of the Palestinian Authority, but above all, they demand the transfer of the center of gravity of the Palestinian government from the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip.

Who is Muhammad Dahlan?

A few days ago, representatives of Muhammad Dahlan met in Doha, with the heads of Hamas, including Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal to discuss Gaza’s future.

Dahlan, once a high-level figure within Fatah, was the Palestinian Authority’s Gaza “strong man” when Hamas violently seized control of the Strip in 2007. But as Dahlan regained influence within Fatah, he had a falling out with Abbas and was expelled from the party in 2011. He was later tried in absentia in Ramallah on charges of corruption, charges which Dahlan denies.

Dahlan’s representatives tried to feel the pulse among the Hamas leadership. Arab sources told TPS that the talks were not relaxed and that Haniyeh and Mashaal were told difficult things about Hamas’s responsibility for the war and the destruction it brought upon itself and Gaza.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. Another 240 men, women, children and soldiers were taken back to Gaza as hostages. Some people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.

In conversations with several Arab sources, Dahlan’s name repeatedly comes up as someone who will win their support in managing post-war Gaza.

Arab countries see the need to move the center of gravity of the Palestinian Authority from Ramallah to the Gaza Strip, and the candidacy of Dahlan, 62, who was born and raised in Gaza, is in line with this concept.

TPS has learned that Arab ambassadors, public figures and other influential individuals are also promoting these ideas in Washington.

TPS has also been told that Qatar is pressuring the Hamas leadership to cooperate with these ideas about “the day after,” even threatening to expel Hamas leaders from Qatari soil.

Hamas’s Detached Leadership

Despite the messages and threats that Hamas hears in Qatar, source indicate that Mashaal and Haniyeh are completely detached from the situation in the Gaza Strip, or are showing forced indifference towards it.

Different from them is Yahya Sinwar, who is well aware of the difficult situation Hamas is in.

Sinwar continues to maintain contact with parties in Qatar and with other parties using a satellite phone and services provided by an unidentified company.

From what Sinwar says, it appears that he has actually become the central factor in the leadership of Hamas, directing the moves and making the difficult decisions.