In a New York Times article entitled "Arab Leaders, Viewing Hamas as Worse Than Israel, Stay Silent" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/31/world/middleeast/fighting-political-islam-arab-states-find-themselves-allied-with-israel.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSum&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0), David Kirkpatrick writes:
"Egypt and other Arab states, especially the Persian Gulf monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are finding themselves allied with Israel in a common opposition to Iran, a rival regional power that has a history of funding and arming Hamas.
For Washington, the shift poses new obstacles to its efforts to end the fighting. Although Egyptian intelligence agencies continue to talk with Hamas, as they did under former President Hosni Mubarak and Mr. Morsi, Cairo’s new animosity toward the group has called into question the effectiveness of that channel, especially after the response to Egypt’s first proposal.
As a result, Secretary of State John Kerry turned to the more Islamist-friendly states of Qatar and Turkey as alternative mediators — two states that grew in regional stature with the rising tide of political Islam after the Arab Spring, and that have suffered a degree of isolation as that tide has ebbed.
But that move has put Mr. Kerry in the incongruous position of appearing to some analysts as less hostile to Hamas — and thus less supportive of Israel — than Egypt or its Arab allies."
Kirkpatrick, however, is only partially correct. Although Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are silently rooting for the destruction of Hamas, their support of Israel has little to do with "common opposition to Iran." Hamas has allied itself with the rebels in Syria, fighting against the Iranian proxy regime of Bashar al-Assad, and for this reason Hamas moved its headquarters from Damascus to Qatar. Rather, the opposition to Hamas of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is grounded upon their fear of Sunni Islamic radicalism, as embodied by ISIS (alternatively "ISIL"), which also poses a threat to Shiite Iran.
Note that Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon, has been holding its fire against Israel during the current war.
So why did Kerry turn to "the more Islamist-friendly states of Qatar and Turkey as alternative mediators"?
I would observe that notwithstanding identical denials from Obama's West Wing and Netanyahu's PMO (Prime Minister's Office), I have been informed by a reliable source that Obama did instruct Bibi on Sunday to agree to an immediate unilateral ceasefire, as reported by Israel's Channel 1. I am told that Obama also declared that he trusts Qatar and Turkey, and that Israel is not in a position to choose mediators.
In addition, I would note that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority were not invited to Kerry's meeting on Friday with the foreign ministers of France, Italy, the UK and Germany to discuss Gaza. Rather, Kerry invited the foreign ministers of Qatar and Turkey, Hamas's principal backers, to join this meeting. And on Saturday, Kerry had a separate follow-up meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah.
Qatar, known for its abuse of foreign laborers, has been bankrolling a bankrupt Hamas. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said of Qatar earlier this year (http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2308.aspx):
"Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has for many years openly financed Hamas, a group that continues to undermine regional stability. Press reports indicate that the Qatari government is also supporting extremist groups operating in Syria. To say the least, this threatens to aggravate an already volatile situation in a particularly dangerous and unwelcome manner."
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, known for his horrific anti-Semitic outbursts, several days ago said that Israel has "surpassed what Hitler did to them" and declared Israel a "terrorist state" (see: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/07/25/turkish-prime-minister-israel-has-surpassed-what-hitler-did-to-them/). By the way, the Turkish government also objects to women laughing in public (see: http://abcnews.go.com/International/turkish-women-defiantly-laugh-official-lol/story?id=24779386).
Given their fervent support of Hamas, Qatar and Turkey were "peculiar" choices by Obama to mediate the conflict between Israel and Hamas. They were even stranger choices given the fact that by seeking to appoint these two countries as mediators, Obama knew that he would be insulting Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority. Stupidity on Obama's part, or something far more insidious?
But more to the point, why is Obama so intent upon reaching an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas? Why isn't Obama willing to allow Israel to "win," i.e. eradicate Hamas?
Yesterday, in an editorial entitled "The U.S. push for a Gaza cease-fire should empower moderate Palestinians" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-push-for-a-gaza-cease-fire-should-empower-moderate-palestinians/2014/07/29/daba4f3e-1735-11e4-9e3b-7f2f110c6265_story.html), The Washington Post stated:
"More broadly, the Obama administration should be working with Egypt and Mr. Abbas, as well as Israel, to end the conflict in a way that reduces rather than reinforces Hamas’s power over Gaza. This is not unrealistic: A recent agreement between Mr. Abbas’s Fatah movement and Hamas to form a single government for the West Bank and Gaza, followed by elections for new leaders, could provide a mechanism. Mr. Abbas, who has been working closely with Egypt, is reportedly proposing that his U.S.-trained security forces secure the border between Gaza and Egypt, displacing Hamas."
However, Obama is plainly not interested in ousting Hamas and installing Fatah in Gaza. Rather, the Obama administration is busy playing the "both sides are culpable" game, when it is not actively seeking to undermine Israel. As acknowledged by Barak Ravid, writing for Israel's left-leaning Haaretz in an article entitled "Kerry's cease-fire draft revealed: U.S. plan would let Hamas keep its rockets" (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.607379), Kerry's cease-fire plan ignored all of Israel's basic security needs:
"Israel's demands were mentioned in the most general of terms in the phrase 'address all security issues.' There was no one mention of demilitarizing the Gaza Strip of its rocket supply or advanced weapons, and not the dismantling of the terror tunnels."
Was Kerry acting in renegade fashion, i.e. without the knowledge of Obama, when drafting his cease-fire proposal? Not a chance.
As Obama nears the end of his second term, we will see more and more of his "true colors." It is becoming increasingly apparent that the president is no friend of Israel, despite what Israeli Ambassador Dermer might feel compelled to say in order to prevent Israel's relationship with the Obama administration from completely unraveling.