January 13, 2024 | Flash Brief

Qatar Accedes to Medicine Delivery for Hostages Held by Hamas

January 13, 2024 | Flash Brief

Qatar Accedes to Medicine Delivery for Hostages Held by Hamas

Latest Developments

After nearly 100 days captivity, Israeli hostages held by Hamas may start to receive life-saving medicine per a January 12 deal between Qatar and Israel. Family members of hostages met January 7 with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Adbdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani to highlight the urgent medical needs of hostages with chronic conditions like cancer and diabetes.

Qatar has agreed that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will deliver the medicine. Hostages’ families have repeatedly petitioned the ICRC to assess the hostages’ conditions and provide medicine, but Hamas has denied both access and proof of life.

Hamas spokesperson Osama Hamdan threatened on January 10 that the hostages “will not be returned alive” unless Israeli forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government believes that 136 hostages captured on October 7 are still alive, of which eight are U.S. citizens. At least 20 hostages have already died in captivity, and in November, Hamas released about 110 hostages in exchange for a week-long ceasefire. Freeing the remaining hostages remains a top Israeli priority.

Expert Analysis

“As a Hamas sponsor and ally, Qatar aims to broker deals that both save Hamas from destruction and defuse Western criticism for that material support. Just three days after a prominent U.S. senator lashed out at Qatar, Doha magically persuaded Hamas to accept medicine for hostages. The lesson is clear: the more pressure Washington exerts on Doha, the better the chances for more hostages to be released.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Even after three months of intense conflict and significant achievements in dismantling terrorist networks, Hamas persists in expecting Israel to eventually agree to a ceasefire and release numerous prisoners, including high-ranking members of terrorist organizations, in exchange for the hostages held in Gaza. However, this strategy employed by Hamas may ultimately fail. Israel has not shown any sign of stopping its military campaign against Palestinian terrorist groups and the recovery of hostages.” — Joe Truzman, FDD Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Qatar Delivers Only Under Pressure

Qatar likely struck the deal with Israel due to mounting diplomatic pressure applied by the United States. On January 9, White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk met with the Qatari prime minister to discuss how to facilitate release of Hamas’ hostages. That day, a bi-partisan group of U.S. senators met with Qatari leaders to encourage swift return of the remaining hostages. Previously in December, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Jacky Rosen called for increased U.S. pressure on Qatar to secure the hostages, including eight Americans.

Qatar has long supported Hamas by providing the terrorist organization with hundreds of millions of dollars, harbor for its leaders, and international political backing. On October 7, Qatar’s foreign ministry published a statement holding “Israel alone responsible” for Hamas’s massacre, and has condemned Israel’s defensive strikes in Gaza.

Qatar’s Leverage On Hamas Falters, Hostages Remain,” FDD Flash Brief

10 Things to Know About Hamas and Qatar,” FDD Insight

Hamas Continues to Deny Red Cross Access to Hostages, Proof of Life,” FDD Flash Brief

Red Cross President Calls on Hamas to Release Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief


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