In an October 8, 2023 article in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, senior Saudi media figure Tariq Al-Homayed writes that the new war in Gaza in the wake of Hamas' deadly terror attack on Israel will bring the Palestinians no benefit since it has no plan or strategic goal, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, and it will not cause Israel to withdraw from territory. This war, he says, serves only Iran and brings the Palestinians more suffering; moreover, it is bound to strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood in the region. Accusing Hamas and the other Gaza factions of "trading" in the Palestinian cause, he adds that the timing of the war is not incidental, and is aimed at torpedoing the emerging American-Saudi deal, which could have benefited the Palestinians, strengthened the chances of regional peace and brought the Palestinian Authority (PA) back to the center of the stage, thus weakening Hamas and the factions.
Tariq Alhomayed (Image: Marefa.org)
The following are translated excerpts from his article.
"Here we are again, on the brink of another useless war in Gaza, following 'Operation Al-Aqsa Flood' carried out by Hamas and the [Gazan] factions. I say a useless war because it has no strategic objective other than realizing the interests of these factions and of those behind them, [namely] Iran and its supporters. I [also] call it a war that trades in [the Palestinian cause], because those behind it have no plan and no enterprise. Will this operation bring about an Israeli withdrawal? No! Do the factions have any intention of sitting at the negotiation table after it? The answer is again no!
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"The truth is that 'Al-Aqsa Flood' is more like a plane hijacking that promises Hamas and the factions 24 hours of media attention, followed by decades of sanctions and suffering for the Palestinian people. If there are people who feel that the pictures of the operation are 'a balm to their hearts,' its repercussions will cause hearts to bleed, and the victims, as usual, will be innocent Palestinians, while the leaders of Hamas and the factions stay in luxury hotels.
"I say that this operation has caused a new Gaza war that trades [in the Palestinian cause] because its timing is suspect and its repercussions are disastrous and will not bring the Palestinians any benefit... The timing is suspect because there are Saudi-American contacts to create opportunities for peace with Israel ensuring better lives for the Palestinians. The timing is also suspect given the internal disputes in Israel [and] the opposition to Netanyahu, the approaching elections in Egypt and the start of the election campaigns in the U.S.
"I claim that the timing is suspect given the existence of an Iranian-driven plot and the absence of any serious and rational political assessment on the part of Hamas and the factions. This has always been their attitude, in past Gaza wars and in this new one. The absence of rational political assessment is especially clear because this operation comes at a time when the Palestinian cause is receiving unprecedented support from the U.S. Democrats. [In fact], they said that Biden could be the last pro-Israel American president, and he was [indeed] in open conflict with Netanyahu. The Palestinian cause was also enjoying support from countries and organizations in Europe, and stronger support than before from the Western left. But all that is bound to evaporate in light of the pictures and footage coming out of this operation, for now nobody will dare utter a word of truth against Israel.
"Iran is not interested in a vision of true peace, especially between Israel and Saudi Arabia, for such peace, if it happens, will change the face of the region. Hamas and the factions understand that any peace will put an end to the game of trading [in the Palestinian cause, for] the Palestinian Authority will regain the center of the stage and the genuine peace process will be renewed. Moreover, such a peace can change the living standards of the Palestinians and ease their humanitarian and economic suffering – which will weaken Hamas and the factions and cause regional peace to be considered in a new light.
"In conclusion, this new war that trades in the [Palestinian cause will only] strengthen Iran's hand and its devastating [influence] in the region, renew the deployment of Hamas and the factions [there], and reignite the mediation game – with the certain losers being the Palestinians and their cause. No matter how loud the popular cheering and applause are, nothing in the [existing] equation will change, for our region has known [this applause] for decades, to no avail. On the contrary, it has achieved the opposite, devastating results."
 Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 8, 2023.