Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
Rocket launch from Rafah. May 4, 2019

The latest Hamas and Islamic Jihad attack on Israel, which saw the firing of some 700 rockets at Israeli civilian targets and the death of four Israelis, was the result of a complex power play and war of prestige among several Arab powers in the Middle East.

Qatar, which has been infusing cash into Gaza to ease the tensions there, has decided to withhold the funds in an attempt to pressure Egypt and weaken its sway on the Strip. This pushed the terror groups to attack Israel, as a means to generate pressure and get the desired funds.

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Simultaneously, Iran has been exerting pressure on the terror groups it backs in Gaza, as a response to pressure exerted on it by the US and Israel.

A Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence document obtained by TPS depicts a multifaceted game of chess played by several countries in the Middle East on the board in Gaza.

Qatar dragged its feet and did not transfer the latest transfer of funds to Gaza, on the eve of Ramadan, as a move against Egypt, with whom it is competing for control over the Strip. Egypt has historically been the mediator, while Qatar now wants a say about Gaza’s future because it is paying to rehabilitate the Strip.

Qatar serves as the patron of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East and is a big supporter of Hamas, an offshoot of the Brotherhood.

Egypt and Qatar have been experiencing tensions and have even severed diplomatic relations in 2017. Qatar supported deposed Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader. The deposing forces now rule Egypt.

The PA intelligence report also indicated that Iran had a big part is setting off the hostilities. Iran pushed the Islamic Jihad, which it funds, and its faction of supporters in Hamas to attack Israel, in response to pressure it is facing from the US and mounting tensions following the US’ dispatch of an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf.

Egypt, on its part, has clarified it will not allow Qatar and Iran to have a say in the happenings in Gaza and has expressed its anger to Hamas, which rules the Strip.

The Islamic Jihad is asserting its power, while Hamas members are fighting among themselves about their allegiance to Iran.

Qatar presented demands on behalf of Hamas to Israel in exchange for the funds transferred to Gaza, but Israel refused them, the report added.

Hamas and Egypt are also having a row over Egypt’s role as a mediator, with Hamas accusing Egypt of serving as “an Israeli agent.”

In summary, ongoing internal fighting and tensions within the Arab world accumulated and exploded in the Gaza Strip, exacting a heavy price from Israel and its citizens.

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