February 21, 2024 | Flash Brief

Qatar Claims of Medicine Delivery to Hostages in Gaza Under Scrutiny

February 21, 2024 | Flash Brief

Qatar Claims of Medicine Delivery to Hostages in Gaza Under Scrutiny

Latest Developments

Israel is investigating the credibility of Qatari claims that Hamas received medicines for hostages it is holding captive in Gaza, the prime minister’s office said on February 20. Doha released a statement earlier that day claiming to have “received confirmation from the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) regarding the receipt of shipment of medicines and the commencement of their delivery to the beneficiaries among the hostages in the Gaza Strip.” Jerusalem said that Doha’s statement was the “direct result of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence on receiving proof of the arrival of the drugs” and that “Israel will examine the credibility of the report.”

Expert Analysis

“Until the Qataris provide authenticated photo or video evidence, we should assume this is yet another scam to save Doha from growing pressure in Washington. The Qataris can’t secure proof of life let alone proof of delivery. They are not honest brokers.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“The discovery at Gaza’s Nasser Hospital of discarded medicines intended for Israeli hostages is a disturbing illustration of how Qatar enables and mollifies its client Hamas. Further, it underscores the ongoing failure of the Red Cross to support these vulnerable hostages.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

No Proof of Delivery

In January, Qatar and France brokered a deal to see the delivery of life-saving medication to approximately 45 hostages. Qatar began transferring the aid to Gaza via Egypt on January 17. However, there has been no independent verification that Hamas delivered the medication. On February 18, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) discovered unopened boxes of medicine at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis bearing the names of Israeli hostages.

Failure of the Red Cross

An 84-year-old hostage released on November 26 was reportedly in a “fight for her life” when she arrived at Soroka Hospital in southern Israel, according to hospital staff. Her family says the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) failed to provide her medical support while in captivity.

On November 27, Israeli military spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari pressed ICRC leaders to ensure the hostages were “receiving the medical care they need.” However, ICRC spokesman Jason Straziuso claimed on December 1 that the ICRC cannot access the hostages in Gaza without permission from local authorities. “We don’t have superpowers,” he said. “We can only take humanitarian action when the authorities in a given area give us the permission.”

Frustrated by the ICRC’s failure to perform its most basic functions of seeking proof of life and verification of medical treatment, Netanyahu “deliberately bypassed the Red Cross in helping arrange” the Qatari- and French-brokered deliveries in January, the Associated Press reported.

Red Cross Will Not Aid in Transfer of Medicine to Hostages in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Qatar Accedes to Medicine Delivery for Hostages Held by Hamas,” FDD Flash Brief

IDF Calls on Red Cross to Finally Visit Hostages, Seven Weeks On,” FDD Flash Brief

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


Arab Politics Gulf States International Organizations Israel Israel at War