Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani enter a hall for a joint news conference, in Tehran, July 6, 2022

Israel Sends Mixed Messages To Iran’s Ally Qatar

Friday, 10/27/2023

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen issued a mild back-handed slap at Qatar’s pro-Hamas policy this week but his message was stymied by a compliment for Doha from Jerusalem’s National Security Adviser.

Cohen said on Tuesday at the UN, “Qatar which finances and harbors Hamas leaders could influence and enable the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages held by the terrorists. You, members of the international community, should demand from Qatar to do just that.”

A day later, National Security Adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, wrote on X, formerly Twitter that “ I’m pleased to say that Qatar is becoming an essential party and stakeholder in the facilitation of humanitarian solutions. Qatar’s diplomatic efforts are crucial at this time.”

It is unclear if the Israeli government is working at cross purposes or whether Hanegbi is the good cop to Cohen’s bad cop, with a view toward influencing Qatari policy. Qatar’s regime has been unabashedly anti-Israel and pro-Hamas since the Sunni Islamist movement terrorist attack, stating the Jewish state is “solely responsible” for the war.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen

In February, Iran International reported that Cohen said the Islamic Republic of Iran is a “cancer” that finances Hamas and Hezbollah.

Qatar lodges US-terror-designated Hamas and courts the Iranian regime’s foreign minister. Qatar has funded or cultivated good relations with all of Israel’s major enemies from Hamas to Hezbollah to the IRGC.

For many experts on Qatar, which presents itself as global power broker, the Islamist Al Thani family members that rule over the tiny oil-rich Gulf country are the other wing of the same Hamas terrorist bird.

Yigal Carmon, the president and founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), told Iran International, “Qatar is Hamas and Hamas is Qatar.”

Iran International was the first news organization to report in early September on Carmon’s prescient analysis that a significant terrorism attack would be launched against Israel in September or October.

According to Carmon, the way to secure the release of the over 200 hostages held by the Iran-backed terrorist movement Hamas is to “destabilize Qatar’s economy.”

Carmon, who served as the counter-terrorism adviser to two Israeli prime ministers, added “The elimination of Qatar as an economic base is absolutely necessary. It will happen through private cyber companies. Private companies are realizing that through pressure the hostages will be released. The Qatari economy is a house of cards and they will be destroyed.”

Along those lines, Rabbi Pini Dunner of the Beverly Hills Synagogue, and John Mirisch, a Beverly Hills City Councilmember, to put Qatar in an economic vice are gaining traction via an international campaign to boycott Qatar’s luxury Maybourne hotel in Beverly Hills and its hotel properties in London.

When asked about the international boycott campaign against Qatari-owned hotels, Paula Fitzherbert, global head of communications for the Maybourne in Beverly Hills, Claridge’s, The Connaught, The Berkeley, The Maybourne Riviera, and The Emory, told Iran International: “We won’t be issuing a comment.”

The former colonel in Israel’s military intelligence agency, Carmon, does not mince words. He has studied the supremely opulent Qatari nation for decades. He has also voiced sharp criticism of Israel’s government after Hamas invaded Israel on October 7 and slaughtered over 1,400 people, including many foreigners.

Carmon said” Tragically, our government funneled $1.5 billon” of Qatari funds to Hamas. “This double speak needs to stop. The way to stop is pressure, not begging Qatar.”

Qatar has pumped $1.5 billion into the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip over the last decade. The money, in theory, was designed to aid the population. Israel’s policy doctrine (advocated and implemented by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu) that Hamas could be monetarily incentivized to not engage in mass adventurism against the Jewish state is now defunct.

Carmon warned in his 2018 MEMRI article titled “Is Gaza In Need Of Qatar's Aid?'" that Qatar’s aid to Hamas would backfire. He concluded his analysis with the following prediction: "In any event, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt see Israel supporting their enemy Qatar in its bid to expand Doha's influence in Hamas-ruled Gaza, four years after the war, when its economy has not only rebounded but is booming, they can only conclude that Israel is playing a double game – the destructive results of which are bound to come sooner or later."

The US and many Western governments continue to court Qatar and praise its diplomacy. After Qatar helped secure the freedom of two American hostages on October 22, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC that “I again want to thank the government of Qatar for playing a very important role in getting them out.”

Carmon said “America is protecting Qatar by having its base there.” Qatar hosts the massive Al Udeid Air Base. The MEMRI president argues that the base in Qatar is “endangering the American army” and noted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered to move the American military base to their nations.

The growing criticism of Qatar’s dangerous embrace and sponsorship of radical Islamist movements is entering mainstream political and media discourse. Prior to the arrival of Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, in Berlin just four days after Hamas’ massacre, the German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock urged Qatar to “clearly stand up to this most brutal terror.” The German Free Democratic Party, which is part of the traffic light federal governing coalition, called for Germany’s major gas deal with Qatar to “immediately be put on ice.”

Germany’s largest paper, Bild, headlined its article on the emir’s visit: “Scholz welcomes the top sponsor of terror.” Olaf Scholz is the German Chancellor. The Bild headline would have been largely unimaginable before October 7. 

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