In the latest twists and turns in the unfolding Sunni crisis with Qatar, Israel has been drawn into the Saudi stand-off with its fellow Gulf country by way of cutting the Gaza Strip’s electricity to only two hours a day. In coordination with PA president Mahmoud Abbas, the Israeli security cabinet has further reduced electricity to the Hamas run strip. Qatar has been Hamas’ foremost backer. One of the points the Saudis have required Qatar to follow through on in order to lift their blockade is for Qatar to break off ties to the terror group.
With Abbas and Israel coordinating against Hamas, while Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt tighten the screws on Qatar, the potential for war is increasing daily. Abbas has cut off payments to PA workers in the Gaza Strip as well as pulling back on transferring vitals to Gaza Strip residents.
Hamas has responded with the following statement feeding fears of an open conflict:
“The decision of the occupation to reduce the electricity to Gaza at the request of PA President Mahmoud Abbas is catastrophic and dangerous. It will accelerate the deterioration and explode the situation in the Strip,” said Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif al-Qanua. “Those who will bear the consequences of this decision are the Israeli enemy, who is besieging the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.”
What is most surprising about Israel’s move to cut Gaza’s electricity is the amount of coordination between Egypt, Israel, and the PA to ensure that Israel can follow through with the electricity reduction. The Qatar crisis has given the emerging Sunni-Israel alliance its first opportunity to test their ability to work together despite not reaching a coveted peace agreement.
Regional Peace First
The coordination between the Sunni alliance and Israel has been unprecedented. It sets the stage for Trump’s path to peace, which is to arrive at a regional deal before Israel and the Palestinians reach an improbable agreement on final status issues. This puts both the Gaza front and the Qatar blockade into focus as a real test to to Israel-Sunni coordination against common regional adversaries like organized terror groups and Iran.