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Qatar to reconsider its role in hostage negotiations after criticism by US, Israeli politicians

Israeli ministers accuse Qatar of propaganda against Israel

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Tehran, Iran May 12, 2022. President Website/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS.

Qatar is considering ending its role as a mediator between Hamas and Israel in the hostage release negotiations, according to Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Al Thani. 

Al Thani made his remarks at a press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, where he blamed “abuse by certain politicians” for exploiting Qatar’s role as a mediator to score political points. 

“There is exploitation and abuse of the Qatari role,” Al Thani noted, saying that “point-scoring” by unnamed “politicians who are trying to conduct election campaigns by slighting the State of Qatar.”. 

The Qatari leader claimed that “Doha engaged in this process from a humanitarian, national, and patriotic perspective to protect our brothers in Palestine.” 

“Unfortunately, there are bids from some politicians with narrow interests as they try to conduct election campaigns,” Al Thani continued, “and they say completely different things behind closed doors.” 

While Al Thani did not specify any politicians by name, recent remarks from both Israeli and American political figures underscore the types of "abuse" he referred to.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been a frequent critic of Qatar in his cabinet meetings, although usually not in public. 

Recently, Democrat Representative Stony Hoyer released a statement calling on Qatar to apply more pressure on Hamas to agree to a hostage exchange ceasefire agreement. In the statement, Hoyer said:“If Qatar fails to apply this pressure, the United States must reevaluate its relationship with Qatar.” 

Following the successful mediation of the original hostage deal in November, Netanyahu refused to publicly thank Qatar for its role in the negotiations, which he later drew attention to in a cabinet meeting. The Israeli prime minister has also blamed Qatar’s funding of the Hamas terror group as enabling the Oct. 7 attacks. 

Following his statements, several Israeli politicians slammed Qatar, calling it “an enemy of Israel.” 

Amichai Chikli, the minister of Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism, said, “I think Israel made a huge mistake when it asked Qatar to act as a mediator for the release of the hostages.” 

“Qatar is an extremely dangerous and hostile state, an enemy of Israel, far more sophisticated but not less dangerous than Iran,” Chikli said in a briefing in Brussels. 

He also accused Qatar of spreading propaganda through the state-funded Al Jazeera network. 

“Qatar is home to the most influential jihadist propaganda channel called Al Jazeera,” he said. “Its propaganda is broadcast worldwide in almost all languages. And it is this propaganda that ultimately drives many people in Europe onto the streets to protest against Israel.” 

Economy Minister Nir Barkat accused Qatar of funding Hamas and stated: “Qatar is under pressure because its true face as a dangerous and terror-sponsoring country has been exposed to the world.” 

“Qatar funds Hamas and gives political asylum to the heads of the terrorist organization in its territory, so it is no wonder that it is a partner in thwarting the contacts to release the abductees and blaming Israel.” 

Barkat called for the Western world to isolate Qatar, as it does with Iran. 

“Qatar invests billions in buying public opinion in the United States and spreading Israel's slander under the guise of a neutral country,” Barkat stated.

“This is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The world must declare Qatar a terrorist state and isolate it – just like Iran.” 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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