'Arab world wants it dignity back': Saad Hattar, head of News Roya, Amman

He says Netanyahu will be another casualty of the ongoing conflict

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/GAZA-UN CONVOY Palestinians flee their houses heading toward the southern part of Gaza Strip | REUTERS

GAZA IS FACING A catastrophe as Israel is determined to uproot Hamas and other armed groups in the enclave. The heavy bombs are being dropped to reach the tunnels. Common people are paying the price for the Hamas attack on Israel. We are seeing massive displacement of Gazans―we fear a third of the total 2.3 million people will be displaced. Most of them are refugees from Palestine―from Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem. They are third and fourth generation refugees who are getting displaced again.

For people in the Arab world, it is not that they want the death of Israelis.... They feel they have been crushed by the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and in Gaza. They want justice, fairness, and dignity.

As Israel continues its Gaza operation, the normalisation of its ties with other Middle Eastern states will be delayed, because under these clouds of war, Saudi Arabia will be reluctant to shake hands with it. In any case, Saudi Arabia will not give Biden this electoral card ahead of the elections. It will try to postpone the process as much as possible and give this to Donald Trump or any other Republican.

This operation could mark the end of Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan is gaining now, as it is trying to ride the tide of people’s massive solidarity with Hamas. And it is not just about Hamas, it is about resistance against the occupier. For people in the Arab world, it is not that they want the death of Israelis. They want their dignity back. They feel that they have been crushed all the time by the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and in Gaza. They want justice, fairness, and dignity.

Officially, most of the Middle Eastern countries spoke about the need to save civilians and about the need for restraint, but they did not condemn Israel directly because the US was very stern when it said that all countries should condemn Hamas. But had they condemned Hamas, the streets in Amman and in Cairo and in other places would have gone up in flames because of the anger and despair, and the solidarity they feel with the Palestinian cause.

Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Iraq, meanwhile, condemned Israel unequivocally as they follow Iran. The Iranian foreign minister visited Beirut and Damascus to discuss future plans. But if they open a front against Israel, Iran will definitely be under attack. That is why the US is sending a second aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean. From Damascus, the Iranian foreign minister went to Doha, which is home to Hamas high operatives like Khaled Mashal. The US secretary of state was also in Doha, for mediation and for exploring the possibility of prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas, and to lessen Gaza’s destruction.

A major casualty of this conflict would be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing ministers. They will face many questions. After the conflict ends, he will be blamed for what happened. There will be a committee like the one that was formed after the 1973 war. Netanyahu’s popularity is at its lowest now. Benny Gantz, who is his partner in the unity government, has seen his popularity rising tremendously. So we are heading towards punishment for Netanyahu, but not right now. We are talking about early next year―when things would be clear in Gaza, and Hamas would be crushed.

Hattar heads News Roya Media Group, the largest privately owned media company in Jordan.

As told to Ajish P. Joy.