Dahlan, the Qalqilya Plan and the Coming Two State Solution…It’s Not What You Think

The rumor mill keeps swirling about major changes in the Middle East.  Two major moves seemingly separate indicate a major shift is underway in Israel, specifically in its relationship to Gaza and Judea and Samaria.

Gaza: Turkey and Qatar Out, UAE and Egypt In

As the Qatar-Saudi rift deepens, the Gaza Strip under Hamas continues to suffer under a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade.  While Abbas has sought to bring the group to its knees, Egypt and the UAE, two countries that stand with the Saudis against Qatar (and its ally Turkey) have used the situation to impose their will on Hamas in Gaza. According to muliple media reports, the Egyptians and the UAE are pushing for Mohammed Dahlan to take over the Gaza Strip as head of some sort of Gazan leadership council.

With Hamas on the ropes they have little room but to agree to Dahlan returning in a way that makes him the defacto “Head of State” of Gaza.  Dahlan is now the Hamas groups key to opening the strip up to goods and electricity.  Given the animosity between Dahlan and Abbas, it would seem that the Palestinian national movement would be split if Dahlan actually does become leader of the strip.

Qalqilya Building Plan Portends a Coming Israeli Annexation

While Gaza goes its own way, the Israeli government is taking steps to assume more and more direct authority in Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank). Rightwing leaders have been up in arms over the proposed expansion plan of the city of Qalqilya, but perhaps there is another reason for the expansion.  Expanding Qalqilya is only negative for Israel if Qalqilya remains controlled by the PA, but what happens if there is something else going on. Afterall who would be crazy enough to expand a Palestinian city that lies only 10 miles from Tel Aviv unless there was something else going on.

The following comments by Defense Minister Liberman indicates there is:

“6,300 houses will be built.” Lieberman pointed out that “While 19 terrorists have come from Hebron, in the last wave only one ramming attempt came from Qalqilya. These are the sticks and carrots. The housing units are already being marketed, there is no room for debate.”

Speaking of the arrival of Donald Trump’s emissary to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, Liberman noted that “Greenblatt is coming to promote an agreement with the Palestinians, but I have my doubts when I look at the Palestinian Authority and its leader, and their refusal to condemn the murder of a policewoman –I ask, where is their good will? With such intentions it is doubtful whether it is possible to advance a [peace] process.”

Lieberman is suggesting that it is the Israelis not the Palestinian leadership who are relieving the plight of Qalqilya. If Israel wants to control Judea and Samaria they seemingly must actually care for the people there. Only if the government is moving to some form of annexation does the Qalqilya expansion plan make sense.

Gazal Equals Palestine, “West Bank” Rolled into Judea and Samaria

The plan that appears to be taking shape is that Dahlan will essentially become the defacto ruler of Gaza.  Supported by the UAE and Egypt he will lead a Gaza that is independent of Fatah and Ramallah. Without Gaza included in a future deal, the ability to annex Judea and Samaria, including all the area where Palestinian Arabs live appear to be doable. Once you subtract the population of Gaza from the total population of Palestinian Arabs West of the Jordan River, Israel will still have a comfortable 70/30 Jewish majority.

The nature of annexation is not clear, but the fact that it is Israel who is determining Area A housing solutions mean the ball has already dropped.  The question will only be if and when Dahlan takes over Gaza, will he be able to cut Hamas’ outsized control down to size or will the Islamist group prevent him from exerting real authority.


What You Do NOT Know About The Qatar Crisis

The looming crisis between Qatar and several Gulf states came as a shock to many. Before that, the Gulf Cooperation Council was viewed as a club of rich and stable Arab regimes. Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia is now leading a push to punish Qatar through isolation. This hsa generated much media attention and ‘expert’ focus by pundits of the Middle East. Still none of those seems to have hit the core of the subject: This crisis is deeper than what anyone guesses and it will have an impact on the entire region, including Israel.

To begin with, the main cause of the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar could be summed up in three words: The Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Saudis wants the MB gone, so does UAE and Egypt. Nonetheless, Qatar and Jordan are both pro-MB and have invested too heavily in the Islamist group to let it go easily.

Some may be perplexed by the claim that Jordan’s regime supports the MB. Jordan and Qatar both provide support for the MB. Jordan’s royal family, the Hashemites, have been in a full alliance with MB since the 1950s. The MB were the ones who supported the kingdom’s founder, Emir Abdallah, in annexing the West Bank. They also stood with the Hashemites in 1970 during their civil war with the PLO. This fact has been confirmed by Jordan’s king himself in a 2013 interview with The Atlantic magazine.

Further, Jordan’s regime’s alliance with the MB is deeper than generally realized.

In November 2012, Jordan witnessed the largest Arab Spring-style revolution. One million took to the street demanding that the king steps down. Despite overwhelming popular sentiment, the MB openly stood against the revolution and said: “We will never allow the king to fall.” While the MB is banned in most Arab countries, in Jordan, they are registered as a charity, a political organization, and a private business. While the king bans  secularists and liberals for a mere tweet, the MB owns its licensed satellite TV network and daily paper in which they consistently preach terrorism and death to America and the Jews.

In fact, the entire knife-intifada concept was launched by MB journalist Yasser Zaatreh who wrote an article demanding all Palestinian stab Jews and in one of Jordan’s major daily which is partially owned by the Jordanian government itself in June of 2015.

The Jordan monarchy’s marriage with the MB resulted in a polygamous marriage with Qatar’s regime. Qatar is the main financier of the MB group not only in Jordan but the world. Jordan’s MB members control Qatar’s owned Aljazeera, the General Manager, Yasser Abu Helalah, is a Jordanian MB member, a known Jordanian intelligence operative, and an outspoken loyalist to Jordan’s king.

Further, Jordan and Qatar have been very close in coordinating their stance on Syria as well as Israel. Both have worked through their intelligence agencies and media to sustain and expand the unrest in Syria with the concept that the more the unrest persists the more both can get away with sustaining and empowering their instrumental tool: The MB. They want the civil war to go one, and that is why when President Trump attacked Syria with Cruse missiles, both Jordan’s and Qatar’s media were against the hit.

As for Israel, both Jordan’s and Qatar’s royals have played both ends against the middle. They have incited the region’s regimes and public against Israel, then behind the scenes telling the Israeli leadership they are the only people they can talk to, and at times, even claiming they both control the situation in Syria. “Israel cannot afford to ignore us, we hold the strings” as one Jordanian stateman has said in secret.

Under Obama, these tactics worked successfully for Qatar and Jordan. Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammad Ben Salman, tried to convince Obama several times of the necessity to crack down on the MB and to designate it as a terror group. This only fell on Obama’s deaf ears.

But now, there is a new sheriff in town. From Day One President Trump was very clear in his stance on the MB and other terror groups stating, “We will wipe them from the face of the earth.”

I can confirm, from my Arab sources, that the Saudi-led move against Qatar came after talks with the US administration. Also, the move is not directed only towards Qatar, in fact, Jordan is on the US radar as the MB’s safe house. In fact, the MB’s HQ is only 4 miles away from the king’s palace.

Jordan’s regime has been trying to appease the Saudis in this fight, it downgraded its diplomatic representation with Qatar and closed Aljazeera’s office. This may fool some Western media, but not the Saudis. The king still won’t cut ties with Qatar and his very own intelligence officers are launching a relentless defamation campaign through Aljazeera against Saudi Arabia and president Trump himself.

Both Qatar’s and Jordan’s state-controlled media are still claiming President Trump is on the verge of being impeached. Something Qatar’s Emir himself stated to his own official news agency, then claimed the agency was hacked and he never said those things. Google, on the other hand, confirmed Qatar’s News Agency was not hacked when it posted the Emir’s comments against both Trump and Saudi.

Further, a very well-connected Arab source confirmed to me that the US has already told Qatar: “Don’t expect any solutions before you drop the MB”.

Meanwhile, Qatar keeps hissing, fighting, and kicking. It cannot do this forever and it will have to give up the MB eventually. Once that happens, Jordan could face serious consequences, simply because “Jordan’s MB is a part of the Hashemite regime” as the king’s own Minister of Political Reform has said. Once the MB loses Qatar’s money and Aljazeera, the Jordanian regime itself will be further weakened and Jordan will be open to changes.

This crisis will have far-reaching outcomes and Jordan has already been influenced by it and will be the next place to watch for change if, or when, Qatar divorces the MB.