I am thrilled to announce today that Ghanem Nuseibeh has joined the Advisory Board for ALL ARAB NEWS.
A Palestinian Muslim born in Jerusalem and educated in the United Kingdom, Nuseibeh belongs to the oldest Arab family in Jerusalem who have been custodians of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for centuries.
Today he is a political and economic consultant and global business strategist with clients in the Middle East – particularly in the United Arab Emirates – and Europe. He is also actively engaged in interfaith dialogue between Muslims, Jews and Christians, and is chairman of the UK non-profit group, Muslims Against Antisemitism.
Though we have corresponded for months about a range of Middle East issues, I finally had the pleasure of meeting with Nuseibeh in person last Friday. We met at his parents’ home in East Jerusalem, right next to the controversial Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, just as the ceasefire brought the first measure of quiet in weeks.
I was deeply encouraged by our conversation, and by Nuseibeh’s moderate views and encouraging vision for the future.
As a businessman, he believes the Palestinians of Gaza could have a very bright future if the world uses the aftermath of this recent war to force terrorist organizations like Hamas out of power.
Yet he warns that the corruption of the Fatah political party, which currently rules the Palestinian Authority, is no solution for Gaza.
If the international community could help liberate Gaza from such forces, they could help Gazans create a “Dubai on the Med” or a “new Singapore,” Nuseibeh told me.
“During the past 15 years, Hamas has taken Gaza from bad to worse,” he said. “Gazans are a people under a brutal Islamist regime who are held hostage to stagnant policies that only serve the interests of Hamas and their global Islamist allies. The previous corrupt rule [by Fatah] was replaced by an equally corrupt rule [Hamas], added to which a foreign-backed Islamist dictatorship.”
“The 15 years of Hamas rule are the worst years that Gazans lived through since 1967,” he noted.
With beachfront property on the Mediterranean and massive natural gas reserves offshore, “Gaza can still become a New Singapore if the international community comes together, along with moderate countries of the region to show them that there is a viable alternative to what they live under,” Nuseibeh insisted. “Opening the airports and the ports controlled by independent forces not connected to Hamas – inward investments not connected to Hamas or any other political party – would be good starting points.”
Nuseibeh is also encouraged by the Abraham Accords and told me the forces of moderation in the region need to be encouraged, and that Evangelical Christians could play a helpful role in this.
“Arabs and Israelis are natural allies – who are united with allies from around the world – against the forces of darkness and extremism,” he said.
“Evangelicals are key allies for moderates in the region and we should continue working closely together towards establishing a bright future for everyone in the region,” he added.
Here is more of our conversation.
ROSENBERG: Why have you agreed to join the Advisory Board of ALL ARAB NEWS — and how can we combat extreme media bias and truly help educate those around the world who care about, and pray for, peace between Arabs and Israelis?
NUSEIBEH: I am deeply honored and delighted to join the Advisory Board of ALL ARAB NEWS and work with the team to show to the world that there is hope for creating a prosperous and peaceful Middle East. Arabs and Israelis are natural allies – who are united with allies from around the world – against the forces of darkness and extremism.
Reaching out and building bridges with the Evangelical community is a key component of the new Middle East. Evangelicals are key allies for moderates in the region and we should continue working closely together towards establishing a bright future for everyone in the region. We should continue to promote real stories of real people on the ground to show the world that the peoples of the region are both capable and keen to shun the past and look forward to a future based on peace and prosperity.
ROSENBERG: As a Palestinian Muslim born and raised in Jerusalem, how do you view the recent war? What role, if any, did Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas play in stoking tensions by canceling Palestinian elections that were scheduled for this month?
NUSEIBEH: The recent war was an unnecessary action that has led to loss of civilian life on both sides. Not only was it unnecessary but it was avoidable. There were clearly many factors at work that ultimately led to this explosion. Abbas’ decision to delay the election certainly played a role in this. The decision to delay the election was purely taken in the interest of Fatah, which Abbas heads, and this has shaken whatever confidence Palestinians had in the governance of the Palestinian territories.
ROSENBERG: How do you view Hamas and their governance in Gaza since 2006?
NUSEIBEH: Hamas illegally took over the Gaza Strip in what can be described as a militia coup. Gaza had been suffering many years of corruption and ineffective governance by Fatah who created the necessary conditions first for a Hamas electoral win and then for relative ease in overthrowing the PA [Palestinian Authority].
During the past 15 years, Hamas has taken Gaza from bad to worse. Gazans are a people under a brutal Islamist regime who are held hostage to stagnant policies that only serve the interests of Hamas and their global Islamist allies. The previous corrupt rule was replaced by an equally corrupt rule, added to which a foreign-backed Islamist dictatorship.
The 15 years of Hamas rule are the worst years that Gazans lived through since 1967.
ROSENBERG: Do you see any scenario in which the people of Gaza rise up and overthrow Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza?
NUSEIBEH: Hamas has a solid, though not large, electoral base – perhaps 20%. It also rules with an iron fist. I have no doubt that the majority of Gazans would want to see the back of Hamas, like they wanted to see the back of Fatah 15 years ago, but this is not easy.
Palestinians in Gaza are more focused on daily survival, and a political organization that is effective doesn’t exist.
Hamas is also heavily funded by Qatar. So, opposing them, let alone overthrowing them, is a remote though not an impossible scenario.
The only way I can see this happening is if Gazans are shown an alternative way of life to what they live under now. Promises of prosperity and a “Dubai on the Med” during the Fatah era were not realized because of corruption and so Gazans need to see a viable third way.
Gaza can still become a New Singapore if the international community comes together, along with moderate countries of the region to show them that there is a viable alternative to what they live under. Opening the airports and the ports controlled by independent forces not connected to Hamas – inward investments not connected to Hamas or any other political party – would be good starting points.
ROSENBERG: What should President Biden and the international community do to help the people of Gaza, and strengthen the moderates, without allowing Hamas to re-arm and grow stronger?
NUSEIBEH: Reconstruction of Gaza via apolitical partners is key with the support of moderate Arab states.
The alternative to Hamas is not Fatah, because Fatah failed before and was replaced by Hamas. Instead, we need a reconstruction plan that is apolitical with both regional and international support. Hamas and Fatah can fight it in the electoral ballot for legislative elections, but what is needed is an apolitical government in charge of reconstruction and state-building.
Starting afresh means moving away from the past, whether Hamas or Fatah.