February 19, 2024 | Flash Brief

Qatar: Ceasefire in Gaza Should Not Depend on Hostage Deal

February 19, 2024 | Flash Brief

Qatar: Ceasefire in Gaza Should Not Depend on Hostage Deal

Latest Developments

Qatar’s prime minister said on February 17 that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza should not depend on a hostage deal. “This is the dilemma that we’ve been in and unfortunately that’s been misused by a lot of countries, that in order to get a ceasefire, it’s conditional to have the hostage deal. It shouldn’t be conditioned,” said Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani at the Munich Security Conference. At the same time, he said, prospects for a deal are “not really very promising.” Hamas continues to hold 134 hostages in Gaza, according to Israel.

On February 18, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Doha to pressure Hamas to release the hostages. “Qatar can press Hamas as no one else can. They host Hamas leaders. Hamas is dependent on them financially,” Netanyahu said. Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari responded on February 19 that Netanyahu’s statements “are nothing but a new attempt by him to delay and prolong the war for reasons that have become clear to everyone.”

Expert Analysis

“Qatar has never been an honest broker in hostage talks. Doha’s primary objective all along was winning Hamas survival. Qatar is showing its true face as Hamas faces its final weeks in power.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Israel’s war with Hamas has exposed Hamas for exactly what it is: a genocidal terror regime that exists only to destroy Israel through bloodshed and violence. Many in the international community are guilty of having legitimized this genocidal terror regime but perhaps none more than the Qataris, who have acted as Hamas’s bank, advocate, and P.R. machine for over a decade.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

Qatar Supports Hamas

Qatar has supported Hamas politically and financially for decades. However, the tiny Gulf Arab state has successfully positioned itself as the lead negotiator in the Hamas-Israel war despite its lack of neutrality and ongoing support for terrorism. In fact, Doha hosts key members of Hamas’s senior leadership and has given an estimated $1.8 billion to Gaza’s Hamas-run government. “We have built relations with Hamas in order to maintain peace and stability in the region,” said Prime Minister al-Thani in November 2023.

On October 7, Qatar’s foreign ministry released a statement holding “Israel alone responsible” for Hamas’s bloody rampage. The ministry ignored Hamas’s war crimes and accused Israel of violating international law.

Unless Hamas Releases Hostages, Israel to Push into Rafah During Ramadan,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S., Egyptian, Qatari, and Israeli Officials End Talks Without A Deal,” FDD Flash Brief

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


Arab Politics Gulf States Israel Israel at War