Thursday 29 February 2024 - 03:30

Behind the Scenes of Mohammad Shtayyeh’s Resignation; What is the Arab-Western Version for Gaza?

Story Code : 1119265
Behind the Scenes of Mohammad Shtayyeh’s Resignation; What is the Arab-Western Version for Gaza?
Discussions and assertions regarding the future of Gaza post-war are currently at the forefront, given the heightened international efforts by influential actors to cease the conflict, leading to various viewpoints being articulated.

Amidst the distressing circumstances faced by the people of Gaza, where hundreds of thousands urgently require food and medical aid, there is a call for the global community to prioritize ending the ongoing warfare. However, it appears that political transformations are of primary concern for the United States and its Arab allies.

One significant event reflecting the Western-Arab strategies for Gaza's post-war future is the recent resignation of the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority government and his cabinet.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, declared the resignation of his administration on Monday, marking the initial phase of the reform process emphasized by the United States in its latest comprehensive plans to address the Palestinian conflict.

Shtayyeh affirmed, "I have presented the government's resignation to Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority government. Despite the unprecedented blockade imposed upon us, our dedication remains unwavering towards our martyrs, detainees, the people of Gaza, the Palestinian national cause, al-Quds, our sacred sites, and our heroes. The Palestinian Authority will persist in its endeavor to establish the Palestinian state."

He expressed: "We encountered challenges, none of which were of our own making, and endured numerous hardships because Palestine justified these efforts. I am of the opinion that the next phase and its challenges call for fresh governmental and political arrangements. The evolving situation in Gaza demands an expansion of the influence of the Palestinian Authority across the entire Palestinian territory."

Immediately, Mahmoud Abbas accepted the resignation of the Shtayyeh government and designated the former Prime Minister as the interim leader until a new cabinet is formed. Several names have been proposed for Shtayyeh's successor, including Nasser al-Qudwa, former Palestinian Foreign Minister, and Salam Fayyad, former Palestinian Prime Minister. However, indications point to Mohammad Mustafa, the head of the Palestinian Investment Fund, as the most probable candidate for assuming this role.

As political shifts within the authority's framework have unfolded under US pressures, the Biden administration views it positively. Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the US State Department, remarked: "We embrace the resignation of the Palestinian Authority government's cabinet and view it as a constructive step towards its reform and modernization."

Miller stressed: "During negotiations, Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, encouraged Mahmoud Abbas to take such measures. We are convinced that these actions are constructive and represent a significant stride towards reestablishing unity in Gaza and the West Bank under the leadership of the Palestinian Authority."

In contrast to the perspective of American observers who view the resignation of the Shtayyeh government as significant for shaping Palestine's future political landscape, resistance groups hold a different stance. Sami Abu Zuhri, a prominent figure in Hamas, conveyed in a statement to Reuters: "The resignation of the Shtayyeh government holds no significance unless it aligns with the national consensus framework for the arrangements in the upcoming phase."

An authoritative source close to Hamas also informed Al Arabiya, stressing that there have been no official discussions regarding the future government with the Fatah movement: "The current priority is to halt the war, withdraw Israeli forces from Gaza, and provide aid to the people. Subsequently, discussions can ensue regarding a national unity government responsible for reconstruction and overseeing people's affairs during the transitional period until elections are held."

These statements from officials within Hamas suggest that the resignation of the Palestinian Authority government's cabinet is part of a strategy aiming to involve or integrate Hamas into the Palestinian Authority government's cabinet. This plan has recently surfaced in the media under the term "technocratic government."

The Technocratic Government Initiative

Part of the Arab-Western endeavor for the political trajectory of Palestine involves establishing a technocratic government, comprising specialized ministers tasked with overseeing the period following the war and assuming governance until a formal date is designated for new elections.

As reported by Al-Alam, "Unofficial discussions within the media regarding progress in negotiations and the potential formation of a technocratic government in Palestine suggest it could be a stride toward achieving a ceasefire. However, as of now, this information remains speculative, with no official confirmation, though it has been widely circulated."

The stances of both factions indicate that even between Fatah and Hamas, there is no consensus on establishing such a unified government, with their respective criteria misaligned. Fatah aims to swiftly assume political and security control of Gaza, showing little concern for the dire situation there, while Hamas prioritizes ceasing hostilities and reconstructing Gaza, without giving emphasis to a technocratic government.

Apart from international endeavors, deliberations have taken place among Palestinian factions both within and outside Palestine to forge agreement on the future government. To this end, Palestinian delegations representing Fatah and Hamas are slated to convene in Moscow, the capital of Russia, on February 29.

In recent months, the Biden administration has repeatedly suggested transferring governance of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. However, disagreement with Zionist authorities has hindered progress on this matter, thwarting attempts to find common ground.

Jalal Bana, an analyst specializing in Israeli and Palestinian affairs, stated to the Alhurra network that the resignation of the Palestinian government is directly tied to the desires of the United States, aiming to signal to Israel and its allies that there has been a shift in Palestinian leadership, potentially paving the way for a partnership in the resolution process.

Calls from both international and regional spheres for the establishment of a Palestinian state within the framework of a two-state solution have intensified, seeking to resolve the longstanding 75-year conflict, ideally coinciding with the cessation of hostilities in Gaza. However, historically, the Zionist regime has staunchly opposed the idea of a Palestinian state. In the recent parliamentary vote, a clear majority of Knesset members rejected the formal recognition of a Palestinian state, and Netanyahu himself has consistently voiced opposition to the formation of a Palestinian government.

It seems that Abbas, with the resignation of the Shtayyeh government, appears to demonstrate his willingness to enact changes and assume responsibility for affairs in Gaza and the West Bank. Nevertheless, according to Palestinians and experts, Abbas's leadership has been his own primary obstacle. Since 2004, he has held onto the chairmanship without taking substantive action to advocate for Palestinian rights.

Despite Washington's attempts to revitalize the organization, it has significantly weakened over the years, and its future appears uncertain. Polls indicate a notable decline in Abbas's popularity among Palestinians. Nonetheless, the White House and certain Arab nations are attempting to install it as a proxy government in Gaza. Palestinian leaders assert that the organization's capacity has been severely compromised due to its financial dependence on the Zionist regime, to the extent that it struggles to meet its employees' payroll.

Hence, the resignation of the Shtayyeh government, ostensibly aimed at implementing reforms, will fail to yield any significant change in Palestine. The forthcoming government will also operate under the influence of America and the Zionist regime. While some pieces may be shifted, the overall dynamics of the political landscape will remain unchanged.

Genuine transformation in Palestine hinges on the Palestinian government prioritizing the objectives of liberation movements. Despite the turnover of various administrations in the West Bank over the past two decades, none have made tangible progress in securing Palestinian rights as outlined in the "Oslo" agreement. Instead, Zionist settlements have expanded, and these governments have faced criticism from Palestinians for corruption, security cooperation with Zionists, and the suppression of resistance forces.

Technocratic: A secret phrase meaning the removal of Hamas

Despite opposition from the Zionist regime, the United States aims to unify the West Bank and Gaza under a new and reformed authority once the conflict subsides. The US seeks to assert control over the people of Gaza through the installation of the Palestinian Authority. However, in the 2007 local elections, the people of Gaza voted for Hamas, resulting in the expulsion of the organization from Gaza. Currently, they oppose its return.

Recent assessments by the United States and the Zionist regime indicate that as long as resistance groups remain active in Gaza and pursue the liberation of occupied territories through armed struggle, ensuring security for settlers will remain elusive. Hence, they are initiating political strategies and advocating for the formation of an inclusive independent government to revert the military, security, and political dynamics of the occupied territories, in favor of the Zionists. These dynamics have significantly shifted in favor of the resistance and against Israel, particularly after the recent conflict of the Al-Aqsa Storm.

Essentially, the primary objective of the United States and other proponents of this plan is to marginalize Hamas from Gaza's political arena and delegate governance to the Palestinian Authority that have aligned with Zionist and American interests for the past two decades. Their aim is to disarm the resistance, ensure Israeli security, and relegate the dream of liberating al-Quds under the authority of a Palestinian government to perpetual obscurity.

Washington advocates for the future Palestinian government to emerge within the existing framework of the Palestinian Authority, aligning closely with the policies of Tel Aviv and Washington.

Arab-Western initiatives concerning Palestine's political future overlook the pivotal role of Gaza's people and resistance groups as the primary actors in the struggle against the Zionist adversary. Despite the heavy toll the people of Gaza and resistance groups have paid in the past five months to defend their lands, their voices and contributions are often disregarded. If decisions about the region's future are to be made, they should be determined by the fate of the people of Gaza, who, through courageous resistance, have inflicted the most significant historical blow against the occupying power.

Challenges hindering the establishment of a technocratic administration

While the establishment of a Palestinian government marks a significant milestone, formidable hurdles obstruct the realization of this endeavor. Foremost among these challenges is the escalating influence of Hamas among Palestinians, a trend that the United States, aided by certain Arab nations, aims to gradually incorporate and remove from the Palestinian political framework. Hamas is not only acknowledged as a pivotal force among the inhabitants of Gaza but also resonates among those residing in the West Bank and holds sway on the international stage. Consequently, marginalizing it will prove to be a daunting task.

Contrary to the anticipated outcomes of Western and Arab nations, the prospect of disarming Hamas and integrating it into the framework established by the Palestinian Authority will not weaken the movement but also bolster its legitimacy among the residents of the West Bank. Over the past two years, intensified aggressions by hardline-led Zionist cabinets in the West Bank have prompted hundreds of security personnel from the Palestinian Authority to disengage and join the ranks of resistance groups. They perceive Abbas and conciliatory organizations as collaborators devoid of commitment to the sanctity of al-Quds and the liberation of occupied territories.

The resonance of Hamas among West Bank residents, particularly within newly formed resistance factions, serves as a testament to the movement's formidable influence, which has garnered popularity among Palestinians through its strategic combat approach. Consequently, Mahmoud Abbas, apprehensive of the potential triumph of Hamas, agreed to the cancellation of parliamentary and presidential elections in the West Bank in April 2021, yielding to pressures from Tel Aviv.

On the other hand, the principal barrier to any political endeavor aimed at resolving the Gaza crisis and the Palestinian dilemma is the grotesque vision promoted by Israel's right-wing extremists, who seek the permanent annexation of Palestinian territories. The Zionist regime is steadfast in its determination to dismantle Hamas and contends, on security grounds, that it cannot even countenance the Palestinian Authority body in Gaza. Hardline Zionist officials are adamant that Hamas and its narrative must be obliterated permanently, and they vehemently oppose the presence of resistance leaders in any future Palestinian government. They fear that Hamas may impose its ideology and principles on Palestinian political currents, significantly complicating the security situation for occupiers.

The establishment of a technocratic government, supported by the United States and Arab states, remains a distant prospect. The makeup of such a government and the level of responsibility attributed to Hamas in Gaza remain uncertain, casting a shadow over the prospects of what appears to be an inclusive government.

Similar proposals have surfaced previously in Lebanon, where France and the United States sought, following the 2018 elections that favored the resistance, to recalibrate their strategies after the 2019 protests and sideline Hezbollah from the political arena. Nevertheless, leaders of the resistance movement have emphasized that the formation of a technocratic or specialized government without the participation of victorious political factions in parliamentary elections is destined to fail.

While many Palestinian factions and political analysts perceive the establishment of a national government as a potential means to reconcile differences among Palestinians, the track record of the past two decades indicates that regional and international mediation endeavors to resolve the political schism between Gaza and the West Bank have fallen short. The Palestinian Authority aspire to assert control over all security and political matters in Palestine, yet the populace and resistance factions are extremely against such events.

The essence of the Gaza conflict and the genocidal actions of the Zionist regime, which have stirred global awareness, underscore the enduring resilience of the resistance movement, with no indication of its demise. Despite ongoing efforts of democracy based on the Western-Arab front, it cannot discourage the resistance from the path of fighting the occupiers.