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Middle East Report – Dr James M. Dorsey

Azra Hoosen |
22 March 2024 | 15:00 CAT
2 min read

According to award-winning journalist and scholar Dr James M. Dorsey, the fundamental gap between Israel and Hamas regarding what a ceasefire would represent is whether it would be permanent or temporary.

Speaking to Radio Islam, Dr James M. Dorsey said that what seems to be an important move, despite not being close to a ceasefire, was that Hamas may have surrendered its demand that any ceasefire has to be permanent.

He also believes that Hamas may have accepted the notion of a 6-week ceasefire in which some of the Hamas-held hostages would be exchanged for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, creating space for negotiation about a permanent ceasefire.

“Two reasons why Hamas may have been willing to make those concessions are that, firstly, you have a US proposal for a Security Council resolution that calls for a sustained and immediate ceasefire and secondly it is under pressure from Qatar, which is under pressure from the US,” he said.

Dr Dorsey believes that Netanyahu is bowing to US pressure.

“Netanyahu has, in the last 24 hours, indicated that a military offensive was not imminent and that it would take time for Israel to prepare for such an offensive,” he said.

According to Dr Dorsey, the question of a military necessity is a question of what perspective one chooses. “From Israel’s perspective that is the primary reason why Netanyahu wants an offensive in Rafah is that the Israelis believe the Gaza-based Hamas leader and Gaza-based military leader are in tunnels under Rafah,” he said

He said that Israel does not have a lot to show for itself in destroying Hamas.

Concerns rise over Saudi Arabia’s bid for the 2034 FIFA World Cup

Despite being the sole bidder, FIFA’s stance on human rights violations in Saudi Arabia remains uncertain.
“FIFA has never taken a strong stance and is unlikely to do so in the case of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the only bidder for the 2034 FIFA World Cup but has yet to be awarded the hosting rights, which will probably happen in November in Bangkok at a FIFA congress,” said Dorsey.

Human rights groups issued a warning, urging FIFA to prioritise labour reform.
“Migrant workers were the initial focal point of the human rights campaign to persuade the Qataris to improve their working and living conditions for them. The example used was Nepali workers. The Guardian newspaper has documented a similar situation with regard to Bangladeshi workers in Saudi Arabia. Based on that, the UN rights group have taken their first chop against Saudi Arabia by warning that unless FIFA, this time around from the beginning, insists on labour reform, we may be facing the same situation we faced in Qatar,” he explained.

Dorsey believes that while Qatar showed a willingness to engage with human rights groups and trade unions, Saudi Arabia presents a tougher challenge, raising doubts over potential improvements.

LISTEN to the full interview with Ml Junaid Kharsany and award-winning journalist and scholar, Dr James Dorsey, here.


Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist, scholar, and Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute. He is the author of ‘The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer’.




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