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Hamas leaders meet with Erdoğan in Turkey amid considerations to leave Qatar

Hamas leaders negotiating with Oman and an additional state 'in the region'

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdoğan welcomes Hamas senior officials Khaled Meshaal, and Ismail Haniyeh during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, April 20, 2024. (Photo: Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS)

The wealthy Gulf State of Qatar has hosted the Hamas terror organization's top political leadership for years, including Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh, and has also been a major financial supporter of Hamas and its acts of terrorism.

Despite these close ties, Hamas leaders are now considering leaving Qatar and looking for an alternative residence, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

Unnamed sources in the Arab world claimed that Hamas leaders are currently negotiating with Oman and an additional state “in the region” as a potential replacement for Qatar, the WSJ reported.

The WSJ report came on the same day Haniyeh and several other leaders met with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul, according to Turkish media.

They discussed “issues related to Israel’s attacks on lands of Palestine, particularly Gaza, efforts for adequate and uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and a fair and lasting peace process in the region,” according to an official Turkish statement.

“Erdoğan stressed that Israel should not benefit from the developments (between Iran and Israel) and that it is important to make efforts that will draw attention to Gaza again,” the statement added.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz commented on the meeting, writing on 𝕏: ”Muslim Brotherhood: Rape, massacre, desecration of corpses, burning babies.” Katz tagged Erdoğan and added: “You should be ashamed!”

Despite its close ties with Hamas and its terror activities, Qatar has assumed the self-appointed role of mediator for the release of the Israeli hostages held captive in Gaza by Hamas since the brutal attack on Israel on Oct. 7.  

Israel, the United States and others have increasingly criticized Qatar as an inappropriate negotiator.

In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explicitly called Qatar an unreliable broker.

“When I talk about Qatar, you don't hear me thanking Qatar. Have you noticed?” Netanyahu asked rhetorically.

“Why? Because Qatar, as far as I'm concerned, is not fundamentally different from the UN, it's not fundamentally different from the Red Cross, and in a certain sense it's even more problematic,” the Israeli premier added, referring to the Qatari regime’s close ties with the Hamas leadership.

Following the repeated criticism, Qatari Prime Minister Muhammad al-Thani recently announced that the Gulf state is “re-examining its position as a mediator between Israel and Gaza.”

“Our position is being misused by politicians for their own purposes,” the Qatari prime minister claimed after Hamas leadership, once again, rejected a new hostage deal proposal.

The Qatari premier further claimed that stopping the Hamas-initiated Gaza war was required to avoid a regional war.

“We had extensive contacts with Tehran and Washington to prevent any escalation. We hear from all the parties in the region that they do not want war - the best way to reduce the escalation in the region is to stop the war in Gaza,” al-Thani said.

While Israel and the West have less trust in Qatar, the regime is, nevertheless, a key regional player due to its close ties with top Hamas leaders and its influential media empire Al Jazeera.

Some Israeli and Western pundits fear if Hamas leaders decide to leave the Qatari capital Doha, it could further complicate the already difficult negotiations to secure the release of the remaining 130 or so hostages being held in the Gaza Strip.

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

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