Between UN deliberations and Doha diplomacy: Lebanon and Rafah await 'critical moments'

Press Highlights
2024-03-19 | 01:48
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Between UN deliberations and Doha diplomacy: Lebanon and Rafah await 'critical moments'
Between UN deliberations and Doha diplomacy: Lebanon and Rafah await 'critical moments'

Between the corridors of the United Nations and Qatar, there is more than expected anew, and the most prominent is a project to cease-fire in Gaza, which leads to a movement shared by the two capital cities, New York and Doha. 

This article is originally published in, translated from Lebanese newspaper Al-Joumhouria.
Suppose Washington proposes an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for voting before the Security Council. In that case, the negotiations between US and Israeli intelligence officials in Doha have produced a long-awaited step in Rafah and Beirut. 

Therefore, there is no longer a need except to search for the details. So, what leads to this equation?

Awaiting the arrival of the Israeli negotiating delegation led by the head of the Israeli Mossad, David Barnea, to Doha armed with the broad powers he has obtained to begin negotiations in their new version with his counterpart, the director of the CIA, William Burns, as guests of the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

It will not be possible to present any clear offer indicating the results of this new round of negotiations, especially regarding the fate of the efforts to arrange a ceasefire and decide on the format to be adopted for new hostage and prisoner exchange operations with Hamas and its counterparts.

In addition, the results will not be clear regarding the classification to be adopted and who will have priority in the exchange between the remaining civilians and military personnel between those who are alive and casualties, and the number of prisoners who can be released in exchange for any hostage.

Undoubtedly, one cannot rely on the expected results in light of the suffering of the parties involved from the size of the differences experienced by their governments and societies and the contradictory positions from which only the US delegation is exempted.

This is because the US delegation is based on clear instructions to reduce tension and de-escalate in all arenas, in line with the needs of US President Joe Biden, who is facing a very tough presidential confrontation with the Republican Party's former president, Donald Trump, whether he remains the candidate or whether the last quarter of the upcoming July brings another Republican candidate.

Based on the information above, if the diplomatic sources were asked to expand on reading the internal scene of the conflicting parties, the following data cannot be ignored:

-On the Israeli level, the crisis afflicting the war government has worsened amidst the ongoing debate about the feasibility of these negotiations before eliminating the Hamas movement in Rafah and gaining full control over the sector. 

Talking about its future and the form of the new administration tasked with managing it is seriously being considered. 

On the other hand, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said, "There is no need to send the head of Mossad to negotiations to appeal to world capitals for the exchange process." And that "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must order the army to enter Rafah and increase pressure to release the prisoners." 

He also confirmed with others that Israel"is in a state of war and an Israeli flare-up was expected, but the policy of the strong hand leads us to calm." 

Warnings of such an operation have increased from more than one source, especially at the level of the opposition led by Benny Gantz, along with the families of the prisoners and hostages who have increased their pressure on the government without reaching a stage of changing major options.

-As for the Palestinian side, there have been multiple reports speaking of the difficulty of communication between Hamas leadership internally and externally, which hinders reaching agreements that the fighting units in the sector can implement. 

Perhaps the dispute that followed the appointment of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's economic adviser to form the new government, which Hamas denies the content of the recent agreement reached, is evidence of conflicting opinions between the two leaderships that may hinder the goal of forming the new technocratic government in Ramallah to be qualified to manage the West Bank and the sector together with international, Arab, and Gulf support that facilitates understanding for the future of a sector "free from Hamas."

Regarding these two theories, it is impossible to underestimate or diminish the importance of the failure suffered by the international mediations seeking to resolve the conflict, led by Washington along with the intelligence quartet and the Arab Gulf ministerial committee formed by the exceptional Arab-Islamic Summit in Riyadh, in outlining any roadmap that leads to understanding on the day following "the next day" after the end of the war in the sector. 

All agreements and negotiations that may be reached will not last unless they are implemented. They cannot continue indefinitely unless they are "insulated" by a "political understanding" that defines responsibilities and outlines the future of the sector regarding the "two-state project."

Everyone realizes that such projects are what mediators seek, given that most Arab and international efforts aim for what is known as a "fair and comprehensive solution," which could make today the end of the wars between Israel and the Palestinians, if not the last war also with the Arabs. 

This phase cannot be discussed until an understanding is reached to demonstrate Lebanon's international borders as of 1923, thus ending all border disputes with the "resistance weapon" once the Lebanese argument falls away from other slogans, foremost among them reaching Jerusalem. 

The reality is that Lebanon alone remains in confrontation, and any permanent calm means closing the last military fronts with Israel amidst the chronic calm on the Golan front and what the Abraham Accords led to, which obstructed confrontation projects with several Arab countries. 

If the "two-state project" is reached, events in Yemen will end, the noise in the Red Sea will subside, normalization with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be completed, and perhaps with other countries waiting on the river's edge.

Given this background, the bet was placed on the new negotiations in Doha to anticipate their implications on what is happening at the United Nations. The US project for a ceasefire, which underwent amendments in five stages, has not yet qualified to be presented to the Security Council for a vote. 

This is because talk of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire suggests the possibility of reaching a political understanding that ends all forms of wars in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Authority's territories, in the hope that it will reflect on Lebanon, which awaits such a step that, if achieved, would rise to the level of a "dream."

Therefore, without these "surreal" results, major obstacles remain that cannot be overcome immediately in record time. Many parties are managing these wars from the "back" and betting on a "long war" on several stages set up to be used for major and different issues ranging from the Gulf corners between Bab el-Mandeb and the Hormuz Strait to perhaps other pending files.

These include the Iranian nuclear file and the Ukrainian crisis and may extend to the South China Sea and the maritime and land routes drawn up by recent Indian agreements, and between Tehran, Beijing, and Ankara, not to mention what a "Beijing understanding" between Tehran and Riyadh could lead to in terms of major agreements overshadowing the minor and subsidiary ones. And until that stage, God creates what you do not know.

Lebanon News

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