Politics

Qatar Slams Netanyahu After Israeli PM Calls It ‘Problematic’

Qatar slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, after the latter was reported to have called Qatar “problematic” because it hosts the terrorist billionaire leaders of Hamas while also mediating between Hamas and Israel.

On the one hand, Qatar is the go-between in negotiations between Hamas and Israel over the potential release of Israeli hostages, over 100 of whom remain in terrorist hands in Gaza. On the other, Qatar supports Hamas and controls Al Jazeera, a media network that pumps anti-Israel and anti-Western propaganda to viewers throughout the Middle East and around the world. Qatar was also once a major funder of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Hamas, and Hamas leaders live in exile in the capital, Doha.

Netanyahu’s remarks were reported Wednesday after he met with the families of Israeli hostages and commented that the United States had wasted an opportunity for leverage by renewing its ten-year contract with Qatar to host U.S. military bases there.

He reportedly said:

I think you need to speak to the hearts of the international community to pressure anyone who can pressure [Hamas]. First of all is Qatar. Now, when I talk about Qatar, you don’t hear me thank Qatar…Why? Because Qatar, as far as I’m concerned, is not significantly different from the UN, is not significantly different from the Red Cross, and to some extent it’s even more problematic. But I can use any factor for now that will help me bring them home. I have no illusions about them. I was very angry recently and didn’t hide it from the Americans that they renewed their contract for a military base in Qatar. Why didn’t you say ‘I ask you to bring back our hostages.’ That’s pressure!…Qatar has leverage on Hamas. First of all, pressure Qatar.

In response, Qatar blasted Netanyahu via social media:

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.

For months, and following a successful mediation last year that led to the release of more than a hundred hostage, Qatar has been engaged in regular dialogue with the negotiating parties including Israeli institutions, attempting to establish the framework for a new hostage agreement and the immediate entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

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 prioritizing saving innocent lives, including Israeli hostages.

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.

A growing number of U.S. leaders are calling for a tougher line against Qatar. Earlier this week, as Breitbart News reported, the Qatari ambassador to the U.S., Meshal bin Hamad al-Thani, was allegedly implicated in a plot to spy on Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), and to bribe French lawmakers.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the 2021 e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now updated with a new foreword. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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