Prime minister affirms centrality of Palestinian cause for Middle East, the world

Prime minister affirms centrality of Palestinian cause for Middle East, the world By A Robin - January 17, 2024
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani

HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani

Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani has said the Palestinian cause is a central issue for the Middle East and the world.

Speaking at a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, the prime minister said that the international community's reaction to the war in the Gaza Strip was unfortunately disappointing for the people of the region and that there is a need to find an immediate solution and ways to end the war as soon as possible, and to release both hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

For the first time in modern history and in a situation like this, even the call for a ceasefire has become a controversial term, and the only effective way to reach a ceasefire is related to the exchange of hostages, which faces many challenges, he said.

He stressed the need to address the issue in the West Bank as well, adding that the media doesn't convey much of what is happening there. He pointed out that the situation in the West Bank is not better than what is happening in the Gaza Strip, as there may not be comprehensive bombing, but there are killings and violence by settlers, and the extremist government calling for ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, and unfortunately, there hasn't been a real reaction from the international community.

He underscored the need to address the rift of Palestinian factions as a prerequisite to implementing the principle of the two-state solution, warning that a two-state solution cannot be reached without the Israeli government and politicians showing a strong belief in peaceful coexistence and bringing the war to an end.

Highlighting the huge impacts of the repercussions of the war on the Gaza Strip on future generations, he said the death toll and horrific images from the war would bear grave short, medium and long-term impacts. With the children and families watching their relatives and parents being killed in bombings amid international indifference, future generations in the region, Europe and the whole world will only show anger and loathing, he said.

Commenting on the reconstruction in the Gaza Strip, he said the reconstruction conference, which was jointly hosted by Norway and Egypt following the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza, saw many countries pledging to provide large sums of money to reconstruct the Gaza Strip, but the matter did not go beyond that, because most of these countries do not believe that the situation would be sustainable.

From time to time, almost every year, limited-scale tensions have escalated in the Gaza Strip, leaving a lot of destruction, he added.

The devastation in Gaza left over 23,000 people killed, almost two-thirds of whom were women and children. Nearly there is no Gaza anymore, there is nothing there, the shelling targets the entire Gaza Strip, which necessitates a post-war reconstruction of the whole city, the prime minister added.
Regarding the escalation in the Red Sea and whether it could lead to an expansion of the war in the Gaza Strip regionally, the prime minister said that the current global situation is taking a challenging turn, adding that Qatar has previously warned against the expansion of war and its extension in the region, emphasizing that its impact will not be confined to Gaza alone but will extend beyond that.

He added that this escalation started in southern Lebanon, then in Syria and Iraq, and now in the Red Sea, noting that the escalation in the Red Sea is currently the most dangerous because its impact is not limited to the region but also affects global trade.

Heexplained that this has changed the view of global trade and shipping, and also changed the extent of the interconnectivity from East to West as when something happens in the Middle East, it affects everyone.

Heexpressed concern about the escalating situation in the Red Sea and the widening scope of the crisis, stating that Qatar always prefers diplomacy to military solutions and believes that the focus should not only be on these small conflicts but on the main conflict in the Gaza Strip because resolving this conflict will lead to the resolution of other issues. He pointed out that during the six or seven days of the pause in Gaza for the release of hostages, all other fronts were simply closed at the same time, and this shows the impact of the central problem.

On another note, the prime minister stressed that the impact on freedom of navigation is a global issue that must be contained, but a military solution will not lead to its end, on the contrary, it will lead to increased escalation and exacerbate the situation further.

Regarding the impact of attacks in the Red Sea on Qatar's exports of liquefied natural gas, he said that liquefied natural gas, like any commercial shipments, will be affected. He added that there are alternative trade routes, but these alternative routes are not more efficient; they are less efficient than the current routes.

The prime minister also emphasized that the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are neighbours, and the rapprochement between them is a necessity, not a luxury.

He stated that there is a common understanding among GCC countries that it is crucial to focus on how to engage with Iran, create a better ground of common interests and understanding, and build on that to address the differences through dialogue and face-to-face problem-solving. He pointed out that there is a great opportunity, and this momentum is still ongoing between the GCC countries, which was clear in various meetings. He added that there would be immense possibilities that would be available if the GCC and Iran cooperated economically in addition to the impact on regional security if there is a serious and sincere dialogue about various issues in the region that can be contained through the cooperation of all those countries.

By A Robin - January 17, 2024

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