Khaled Abu Toameh argues that John Kerry’s Gaza diplomacy is intended to save Hamas. And he isn’t alone in holding this view. It is shared, not without reason, by the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia — all of whom were bypassed by Kerry’s initial diplomatic foray in favor of Turkey and Qatar who support Hamas:
That Kerry chose to invite Qatar and Turkey — the only two countries that support Hamas — to the [Paris] conference [on the war in Gaza] was received with anger and shock by the Palestinian Authority and its Arab allies.
The Paris conference was actually a spit in the face of anti-Hamas forces in the Arab world.
By failing to invite the PA to the conference, Kerry indicated that he does not see any role for Abbas and his loyalists in a post-Hamas Gaza Strip. Kerry chose to conduct indirect negotiations with Hamas through their patrons in Doha and Ankara.
By ignoring Egypt, which considers Hamas a threat to its national security and has been conducting its own war against the Islamist movement over the past year, Kerry sent a message to the Arabs and Muslims according to which the U.S. Administration is on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies.
The message isn’t John Kerry’s, of course; it’s President Obama’s. As we have said, Obama, blinded by his leftist, “liberationist” ideology, sees the Muslim Brotherhood as the wave of the future in the Middle East. True to his ideology and wanting to be on “the right side of History,” Obama has tilted toward the Brotherhood consistently.
He did so in Egypt by supporting Mohammad Morsi, the Brotherhood’s man in Cairo. He did so in Syria by backing Ahmed Mouaz al-Khatib who is closely associated with the Damascus Branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Obama also tilted towards the Brotherhood during the last war in Gaza. At that time, he helped broker a peace agreement through Egypt, whose leader was Morsi. This time, with Egypt no longer under the Brotherhood’s control, Obama looked elsewhere for a “mediator.”
What are the consequences for Gaza of Obama’s tilt towards the Brotherhood? First, by relying on the Brotherhood’s backers, Qatar and Turkey, as mediators Obama seems implicitly to reject the demilitarization of Gaza, which is the only way to prevent future shelling of Israel and future wars in Gaza. Qatar and Turkey will never back the disarming of Hamas.
Second, by effectively taking demilitarization off the table, Obama helps Hamas maintain its power in Gaza. As noted above, the U.S. administration apparently desires no role in Gaza for Abbas and the Palestinian Authority — an odd position given the administration’s claims that Israel has a genuine peace partner in Abbas and the PA.
Obama’s defenders argue that Obama naturally looked to Qatar and Turkey as “mediators” because they are the ones with influence over Hamas, and therefore the ones who might have been able to bring about an immediate cease fire. But Obama’s desire for an immediate cease fire is further evidence of his desire to save Hamas.
Hamas’ enemies would prefer to see Hamas degraded if not crushed. Sadly, Barack Obama is not among Hamas’ enemies. Worse, he is prepared to play the role of its savior.