What is the difference between Qatar and Oman, between the policies of Doha and Muscat? Why do we accept it when Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Oman, travels to visit Jerusalem or meet with Israeli officials, and do not accept it from the Qatari officials when they do the same thing?
Minister Bin Alawi toured between Jerusalem, Abu Dis and Jericho, met with official and popular representatives, carried with him the Omani incense to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
His visit came at a time when the Qatari media were inciting against those who thought of paying such a visit, or even makes a comment supporting it, when we see Bin Alawi in Jerusalem, we do not feel irritated because the Omani politicians and the Omani media do not make accusations on those opposing their policies.
On the other, a country such as Qatar has been engaged in such diplomatic activities since 1996, while Doha threatens any government or organization that dares to do the same thing. Previously it had launched a campaign against the Egyptian government because the Mufti visited Jerusalem, and against Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, because he once made a commen rejecting the crime of Holocaust against the Jews!
Oman also has its own independent policy, and since mid-90s, it opened an Israeli trade office in Muscat and closed it when the second Palestinian uprising happened.
As for Qatar, it practices double hypocrisy policy. It trades and deals with Israel on all levels, and at the same time launches campaigns against Arab governments and organizations accusing them of treason if they dealt with the Israeli bodies in any way. It has formed an evil alliance with Iran threatening the countries of the region, through provocative policy, with the support of the extremist Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda, ISIS, al-Nusra front and threatening the forces of moderation in the Middle East.
Respecting others’ choices
Oman did not reject, incite, nor object, and adopted a regional policy that may not always be compatible with most countries in the region. These are their choices and we all respect it because they respect others’ choices.
As for the courageous step of Oman, to deal directly with the forces on the ground in Palestine and Israel, it deserves to be discussed in detail.
Oman also has its own independent policy, and since mid-90s, it opened an Israeli trade office in Muscat and closed it when the second Palestinian uprising happened. As for Qatar, it practices double hypocrisy policy. It trades and deals with Israel on all levels, and at the same time launches campaigns against Arab governments and organizations accusing them of treason if they dealt with the Israeli bodies in any wayAbdulrahman al-Rashed
“We have to encourage our Arab brothers, wherever they are, to come to Palestine. For as I said, He who hears is not like the one who sees. It is now necessary to visit the Palestinians,” Minister Bin Alawi said.
Some may say that Bin Alawi is the most experienced Arab foreign ministers in position, and does not need to go there to know what is really happening. The truth is that all the Arab foreign ministers and the other ministers need to go to the occupied Palestinian territories, meet with the officials and popular Palestinian leadership, and experience the reality instead of commenting about the suffering from inside the air-conditioned conference rooms in Cairo and elsewhere.
One of the greatest mistakes of the Arab policies is to boycott the Palestinians diplomatically, economically and interpersonally and claim that it is boycotting for Israel.
Anyway, as a response to those who support Qatar, it is important to differentiate between what the aggressiveness and incitement of the Qatari government, and having a strong relationship with the Israelis, and what Oman has done. There is a huge difference and the Arab League should take up the suggestion of Bin Alawi to visit Palestine and consider it the title of a new project that includes the lifting of the Arab siege on Jerusalem and the Palestinians. The League must also have a clear position against the incitement of countries such as Qatar and Iran.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.