Khalid Al-Bari

From the Sea to the River... Who Reaps the Benefit?


I was recently surprised to watch a video dating back to June 2021 in which Yehya Sinwar calls on all Palestinians for a confrontation with Israel, with the aim to establish a state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, and secure the right of return for refugees.


The conditions he had set may have become difficult to attain, but he still admits in his statement that his ultimate goal is the two-state solution, which converges in principle with the demands of the moderate countries in the region, even if the means differ.


What makes me wonder in this video is not Yehya Sinwar, the man whom Israel blames for the October 7 operation that targeted the Israelis, and who is seen as responsible for pushing his people into a rut...


What makes me wonder is a simple question: If Yehya Sinwar himself, who is currently at the top of the Israeli wanted list, is talking about the two-state solution, then who adopted the slogan, “From the River to the Sea,” in the demonstrations that swept the world, suggesting to public opinion that the Palestinians reject anything short of throwing Israel into the sea as an alternative?


To answer this question, I suspect two parties more than others, and I exclude one party that I have always made a target for my criticism.


The first suspect is the Iranian lobby, which is the main beneficiary of extinguishing any spark of hope for reaching a negotiated solution. Tehran does not hide this fact. The Supreme Leader recently spoke about how the region needed October 7 to stop attempts aimed at “normalization.” He means peace efforts between Arabs and Israel. He realizes that it radically changes the rules of the game, security-wise, economically, and in terms of balance of power, and contributes to the greater isolation of Iran and its tools.


It is in Iran’s interest to spread the word “impossibility” of the solution; otherwise, the value of the commodity - through which it invades neighboring markets on the one hand, and negotiates with the United States on the other - will decline. Hamas leaders spoke about the connection between the calm on the regional fronts and the alleviation of tension in Gaza.


The statement contains a clear, complementary message that the cards for a solution are in Tehran’s hands. Then, a third matching statement was made by the Iranian side, stating that the clash with America in the Middle East is a dispute over shares and quotas.


The ideological republic sees nothing but its expansionist goal, considers lives a natural price for achieving it, while threatening peace and security. It found in Hamas leaders those who watered the tree of its dreams with the blood of Palestinians.


The second suspect is the radical left. Iran has long used this category of secular ideologues and political Shiites as a means of conveying its message outside its traditional circles. The plan succeeded in Lebanon and Iraq, and found someone to embellish its image in other places. These former communists have a mixture of jihadist-like verbal radicalism and Brotherhood-like opportunism. They are encouraged by more rhetorical radicalism but they do not engage in clashes on the ground, neither do they pay a price.


With these two suspicious parties, Gaza turned into a deck of cards that were distributed among a larger number of players, many of whom saw in the extension of the war, and the chaotic situation accompanying it, a greater benefit than stopping it and saving the blood of the Palestinians.


This puts them in a different position than the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the apparent convergence of goals. The Muslim Brotherhood’s goal at the present time is not to promote the impossibility of a peaceful solution, but rather to preserve the Hamas group and ensure its foothold in any future arrangements.


Their electronic committees have noticeably calmed down on social media, realizing that what is currently happening does not resemble any previous confrontation. The Brotherhood focuses more on boycott campaigns, on exploiting the war to undermine the efforts of the regimes they oppose, on the continuation of the student movement, and on the scenario of Hamas’ victory in preparation for its continuation on the foundations of a new myth.


In short, prolonging the war is not the goal of the “Mother of Hamas,” but rather the objective of those pretending to embrace the group.


On the afternoon of October 7, the leaders of Hamas experienced a suspicious state of confusion that was not commensurate with the group’s existential adventure. This confusion, which reached the point of disavowing some of what happened, and trying to place the blame on infiltrating civilians, suggest that they were surprised by what happened, which made them lose even the natural ability to test the scenario before presenting it.


Their attempt at repudiation is implausible. An average citizen does not go on his own to a shooting area; he has no idea of ​​its scope and extent. This is a deliberate move, prepared by a regulatory body. This behavior implies the presence of a party whose interest is to cut off the line of return and the threads of a solution, and to create a horrendous tragedy from which the region will not wake up unless it gets enough.