He is undermining the peace negotiations process for reasons that appear to serve his political career - Qatar reacts to leaked conversation of Israeli PM NETANYAHU criticizing mediation efforts

Thursday, January 25, 2024
 – The Qatari government has reacted to leaked voice messages of the Israeli PM criticizing Qatar over its handling of ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas militants.

In leaked recordings from a meeting between Netanyahu and the families of captives in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, he reportedly accused Qatar’s mediation between Hamas and Israel of being “problematic.”

Netanyahu also claimed that Qatar funds Hamas — a claim that the Gulf country has repeatedly dismissed.

“Qatar, from my point of view, is no different in essence than the United Nations… and the Red Cross, [Qatar] is even more problematic,” Netanyahu is heard telling the families in the leaked recording.

He added that he was willing to speak to anyone who would help return the captives.

“I have no illusions about them. They have leverage [over Hamas]… Because [Qatar] funds them,” Netanyahu added.

In the recording also, Netanyahu reportedly criticised the U.S. for its decision to extend its military presence at the Al Udeid Air Base, the largest in the region, in Qatar for 10 more years.

Netanyahu can be heard saying in the leaked recording that he got “very angry recently with the Americans” over their decision. He added that using the deal as leverage “would apply pressure” on Qatar.

“Instead of concerning himself with Qatar’s strategic relations with the United States, we hope Netanyahu decides to operate in good faith and concentrate on the release of the hostages,” Al Ansari said.

The remarks came despite Qatar’s pivotal mediation efforts to release Israeli and foreign captives from Hamas in Gaza since their capture during the surprise attack of October 7, 2023 — which Israel has long used to justify its genocidal war.

If the reports are accurate “the Israeli PM would only be obstructing and undermining the mediation process, for reasons that appear to serve his political career.”Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Majed Al Ansari, said on X.

“We are appalled by the alleged remarks attributed to the Israeli Prime Minister in various media reports about Qatar’s mediation role. These remarks, if validated, are irresponsible and destructive to the efforts to save innocent lives, but are not surprising,”

Al Ansari underscored Qatar’s successful mediation last year alongside Egypt, which resulted in a temporary truce that lasted between November 24 and December 1.

While the talks have since appeared to stall under the non-stop Israeli attacks and ground invasion of Gaza, where Israel has killed more than 25,000 Palestinians, Al Ansari noted that “Qatar has been engaged in regular dialogue with the negotiating parties including Israeli institutions.”

“If the reported remarks are found to be true, the Israeli PM would only be obstructing and undermining the mediation process, for reasons that appear to serve his political career instead of prioritising saving innocent lives, including Israeli hostages,” Al Ansari added.

Hamas opened its political office in Qatar in 2012 following the United States' request to establish a channel of communication, a move that has since allowed Doha to successfully mediate between the conflicting parties on several occasions to achieve crucially needed ceasefires.

Qatar — a major non-NATO U.S. ally and France also managed to broker a deal on January 12 to allow the delivery of aid and medicines to the remaining captives and civilians in Gaza.

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