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Qatar is a Big Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Israel Must Remove Qatar from the Gaza Strip

According to (as yet uncorroborated) Arab reports, the US has asked Qatar to finance and manage the port project in the Gaza Strip. According to these reports, Qatar demanded that the port be constructed by the Al-Hissi company, a Qatari company with widespread connections to Hamas which serves as the primary contractor in many parts of the Strip. If this is the case, it is unequivocal testimony to the fact that Israel and the US have not yet awakened to the toxic involvement of Qatar in the Palestinian arena. Without blocking Qatar from playing a role that gives it direct or indirect influence in the Gaza Strip, Israel cannot achieve the goals of its war, which are dismantling Hamas and obtaining the free reign to operate in the Gaza Strip as necessary.

For decades, Qatar served as the political and financial patron of Hamas. Since the murderous attack of Hamas on the Simchat Tora holiday, Qatar has been employing all the means at its disposal to hand Hamas a lifeline. Qatar’s line of policy on the issue of the hostages demonstrates how it works to undercut Israel’s ability to wage war on Hamas. Despite the numerous leverage points Qatar has over the terrorist organization, it never used them to pressure Hamas to relinquish its demand for a long-term cease fire as a condition for releasing the hostages. These hostages are key to Hamas’s survival, and Qatar is not interested in losing such an important asset.

Qatar uses the hostages as a blackmailing tool and exploits them as a means to play on the fault lines of Israeli society. After it was leaked that the Israeli Prime Minister criticized Qatar as two faced, the Emirate issued a sharp rebuke, warning that such criticism can damage the chances for an agreement. The State that grants safe haven to Hamas senior officials, as well as financial backing in the amount of billions went so far as to cynically blame Netanyahu for torpedoing the agreement for political reasons. Recently, Qatar began to threaten that an operation in Rafah, the last bastion of Hamas in Gaza, may undermine any deal. If Qatar succeeds in leveraging the hostages to prevent a decisive Israeli victory in Gaza, it would be insanity to reward them with more assets to use against us in the future.

Even in the current fighting, the IDF abstained for two months from operating in the Hamad neighborhood, built with Qatari money, for fear of confrontation. And when the army did attack, it used less than its full force, thereby endangering IDF soldiers. Should Qatar play a role in rebuilding Gaza and its infrastructure, Israeli hesitation will increase sevenfold. Qatar currently enjoys close ties to the US, formalized as “an important non-NATO ally”. The US also relies on its Air Force base in Qatar which provides easy access to the Middle East and Central Asia.

At the same time, the ties Qatar has to Hamas damage its image in the eyes of Americans and American representatives and create some difficulties in its relationship to the US. If Israel allows Qatar to become Gaza’s savior, its image will transform into that of a humanitarian force and it will solidify its position as a key state in American eyes. The State of Israel may find itself handicapped, blocked by the US from harming its ally Qatar’s interests.

Israel has set itself the goal of preventing all future threats from Gaza. Qatar solidifying its hold on the Gaza Strip means that any future Israeli action will be subject to the question of political trouble with Qatar. Therefore, Israel must demand the eviction of Qatar from the Gaza Strip. Hamas cannot be allowed to gain a strategic achievement in the form of Qatari political protection. Qatar is a hostile state, bearing its own share of responsibility for the massacre of October 7. Israel must stand strong and make it clear that the Qatari era in Gaza is over.

Originally published in Israel National News

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  • עו"ד אברהם שלו

    בעל תואר ראשון במדעי המדינה ולימודי מזרח התיכון מאוניברסיטת מקגיל בקנדה, בעל תואר ראשון במשפטים ותואר שני בלימודי מזרח תיכון מאוניברסיטת בר-אילן. חוקר במחלקה המשפטית בפורום קהלת ומתמחה במשפט ציבורי.

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