April 9, 2024 | Flash Brief

Qatar Not an Honest Broker, New Report Concludes

April 9, 2024 | Flash Brief

Qatar Not an Honest Broker, New Report Concludes

Latest Developments

A group of veteran American and Israeli intelligence professionals assert in a new report that Qatar should not mediate between Hamas and Israel, The Times of Israel revealed on April 8. The report, which draws on English, Arabic, and French sources, concludes that Qatar is “not an independent mediator” and “benefits directly from the bloodshed and geopolitical fallout and unrest that result from its policies.” The document, prepared on behalf of lawyers for the families of victims of Hamas’s October 7 massacre, also alleges that Qatar enabled the attack by sponsoring the terrorist group politically and financially. “Qatari funding and policies led directly to October 7,” it states.

Expert Analysis

“The U.S. policy of turning a blind eye to Qatari hospitality and cash to the Hamas terrorist group over the last decade undeniably led to the war that America is now trying to contain. Whatever intelligence has been collected — whether by the Israelis, the United States, or others — should now be shared. The key to preventing future conflict in this region is understanding the actions of the malign actors like Qatar who helped make this crisis possible.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Qatar has repeatedly proven itself to be a state sponsor of terrorism. It should be treated as such until it ceases all support for Hamas and other sanctioned entities.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Qatar’s Relationship With Hamas

Qatar sided with Hamas and endorsed its takeover of Gaza in 2007. Since then, Doha has provided political and financial assistance to the Islamist group, pumping an estimated $1.8 billion into Gaza’s Hamas-run government. Hamas also maintains a political office in Doha, where several of the group’s senior leaders live in luxury.

Qatar held “Israel alone responsible” for Hamas’s October 7 terrorist attack, ignored Hamas’s war crimes, and falsely accused Israel of violating international law. Still, Qatar has played a role in mediating between Israel and Hamas. Doha helped broker a temporary ceasefire in November 2023, during which Hamas released 81 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

Israeli Pressure on Qatar

Despite Doha’s assistance in brokering the November hostage deal, Israeli officials continue to hold reservations about Qatari mediation. “It’s as if the U.S. would turn to Pakistan, which once harbored Bin Laden, for moderation on behalf of itself, and I find this notion quite implausible,” Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs and Combatting Antisemitism Amichai Chikli told The Jerusalem Post on December 5. On January 23, Israel’s Channel 12 TV aired a leaked audio recording of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telling hostage families that Qatar was “problematic.”

On January 27, Netanyahu demanded that Qatar do more to secure the release of the remaining hostages. “Qatar hosts the leaders of Hamas. It also funds Hamas. It has leverage over Hamas,” he said during a televised news conference. “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.” Qatar is reportedly disinclined to aid in Gaza’s reconstruction, in part because of the Netanyahu government’s critical view of the emirate.

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

Israel Demands Qatari Action on Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. Wrong to Involve Qatar and Turkey in Israeli Hostage Negotiations,”FDD Flash Brief

Stop With the Nice Words on Qatar,” by Jonathan Schanzer


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