Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn the ire of the emirate with statements critical of Qatar's mediating role in the Gaza conflict. Qatar's foreign ministry said on Wednesday it was “dismayed” by reports attributed to Netanyahu by the media, which the texting service X had earlier tweeted. “If these reports are indeed true, they are irresponsible and detrimental to efforts to save innocent lives.”
Israeli Channel 12 previously reported on Netanyahu's statements at a meeting with relatives of Hamas prisoners. According to the audio recording, the head of government did not “thank” Qatar for being a mediator, saying the emirate was “more complicated” than the United Nations or the Red Cross. “I have no illusions.”
Netanyahu said Qatar has an opportunity to put pressure on the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas. “And why? Because it funds them. He was “very angry” about the US decision to extend the contract for a US military base in the emirate by ten years.
Qatar is a key mediator in the war between Israel and Hamas. In November, the Gulf state, along with Egypt and the United States, facilitated a week-long cease-fire during which about a hundred hostages in the Gaza Strip were freed. Efforts for a ceasefire are now underway.
Qatar has good relations with Hamas; The political leadership of the Palestinian Authority resides in the Gulf state. Qatar has sent hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in recent years. (AFP)