In order to understand the latest developments in the Palestinian arena we have to understand the regional context: the Arab-Israeli alliance against Iran is exploiting the last days of president Trump in order to cement the regional axis that may include Turkey as well.
Cairo was the center of two developments – the visit of Abu Mazen together with Hussein a-Sheikh and Majed Faraj and meetings between the Egyptian intelligence and a delegation of Hamas and Ahmad Hillis, Fatah boss in Gaza that is known for his animosity to Dahlan.
As for the Abu Mazen meetings in Cairo, my sources in Ramallah said that they had failed. Abu Mazen wanted to have the Arab backing to his political plan of convening international conference for the Palestinian problem, but the Egyptians – including the Arab League – told him that they will support him only on the implementing of the singed agreements with Israel – nothing beyond this and they are not interested to return to the old failed processes of the past.
It was reported that president Sisi was interested a summit in Cairo between Abu Mazen and Netanyahu that meant rejecting the Palestinian plan to convene international conference.
In the meeting between him and president Sisi, Abu Mazen said that he will wait for Biden, which means that he is not part of the regional axis.
Abu Mazen told the Egyptians that also his visit to Abu Dhabi is delayed until the new Biden administration begins its term.
When Abu Mazen returned to Ramallah, he gave a very strong message reaffirming “the Palestinians axioms” that means no change in the traditional PLO positions and short of accepting all their old demands they will not join the regional axis.
It is not only the inability to show flexibility in a changing world, but also the danger of explosion in the race of Abu Mazen succession.
In order to understand it we have to map the several forces that compete in the race.
One group is the one that is leading the rapprochement with the Gulf – Hussein a Sheikh and Majed Faraj. They are the responsibility of the ties with Israel – Sheikh on the civil aspects and Faraj on the security aspects. The move with the Gulf is exactly what the axis needs – adding the PA to the axis. So, the edge they have over the others means the PA is part of the regional axis.
But they face two other groups that will not yield easily, if at all.
The Rajub/Aruri group that is linked to Qatar and the “Arafat group” that is supposed to be linked to the radical powers in the region such as Iran and Syria, which means the opposite to Faraj/Sheikh group but their weakness is inherent in the fact that now those powers are too weak to give them real support. The leader of this group is Mahmud al-Alul, Abbas’ second in Fatah and Abbas Zaki. They are strong enough in the West Bank to spoil for the Sheikh and Faraj and watching Abu Mazen’s speech one has to conclude that he adopted their line.
This does not mean that the ME is waiting for Abu Mazen and here we must examine the Hamas visit in Cairo earlier this week.
The difference between the Istanbul reconciliation meetings and the Cairo meeting was in the composition of the participants. While in Istanbul the participants were Qatar’s loyalists Rajub and Aruri in Cairo the Hamas head of the team was Khalil Hiyya, a local Gaza leader and the Fatah guy was Ahmad Hillis, an Abu Mazen loyalist and a well-known opponent of Dahlan – also from Gaza.
it was an inner Gaza meeting. The point here was that it was a LOCAL Gaza meeting, while in Istanbul Gaza was absent.
According to our Ramallah sources, Hiyya told the Egyptians that Gaza is rejecting the Istanbul agreements.
Another point is that Gaza is separate from Ramallah because all the meetings took place between the Gazans only – Hiyya and Hillis. Beside rejecting Istanbul meetings nothing else was published so even the fake agreements in Istanbul are not valid any longer.
A few days before the meeting, Hamas published a long list of WB products that will not enter Gaza in “order to protect the local industry.”
So, the cut-off between the WB and Gaza is deepening opposite to reconciliation.