January 27, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Demands Qatari Action on Hostages

January 27, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Demands Qatari Action on Hostages

Latest Developments

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded on January 27 that Qatar do more to secure the release of hostages held by its client, Hamas, in Gaza. In a televised news conference, Netanyahu underscored Qatar’s role as a major sponsor of Hamas: “Qatar hosts the leaders of Hamas. It also funds Hamas. It has leverage over Hamas,” he said. “So they should be so good as to apply their pressure. They positioned themselves as mediators — so please, go right ahead, let them be so good as to bring back our hostages.”     

On January 23, Israel’s Channel 12 TV aired a leaked audio recording of Netanyahu telling hostage families that Qatar was “problematic” and that he was refraining from thanking the gas-rich, Iranian-aligned Gulf emirate for its mediation. The Foreign Ministry in Doha responded on January 24 that it was “appalled” by the remarks and suggested Netanyahu was obstructing the hostage negotiations for political reasons. “I don’t take back a single word of what I said,” said Netanyahu.

CIA Director William Burns is expected to meet in Europe on January 28 with Israeli, Egyptian, and Qatari officials.

Expert Analysis

“For too long, Qatar has been allowed to play both arsonist and firefighter when it comes to global terrorism. This has always posed an international security risk, given the prospect of terrorist acts being committed with Doha’s tacit backing. But the threat, when it comes to the Gaza hostages, is even more imminent. These are innocents that are dying by the day, deprived of basic rights like Red Cross visits, and are vulnerable to endless abuses. There is simply no more time to waste on Qatari duplicity.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“CIA Director Burns should be making it clear to Qatar that Doha’s time for choosing has passed: It’s the United States or Hamas. Doha’s continued negotiation on behalf of Hamas’s interests rather than the hostages’ must be met with severe consequences.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Israel rejects Hamas’s deal to swap terrorists for hostages

In late November, Qatar and Egypt brokered a truce through which the Palestinian terrorist group freed some of the hostages it seized during the October 7 cross-border rampage that sparked the Gaza war. But Israeli anguish over the 132 remaining hostages — 27 of whom have been declared dead in captivity — is mounting as Hamas insists that any follow-up deal end Israel’s offensive. In another non-starter for Jerusalem, Hamas has publicly demanded the thousands of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons be freed in exchange for the hostages.  

ICJ Rejects Gaza Ceasefire Demand, Urges Hostages Released,” FDD Flash Brief

Qatar Accedes To Medicine Delivery For Hostages Held By Hamas,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Offers Two-Month Pause In Fighting In Exchange For Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief


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