Qatar evaluating role as mediator between Israel, Hamas


April 18, 2024


Qatar evaluating role as mediator between Israel, Hamas

A cloud of smoke erupts down the road from an explosion in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip/File Photo: AFP

DOHA: Qatar is rethinking its role as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, its prime minister said Wednesday during a press conference with his Turkish counterpart in Doha.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said, without elaborating, that its mediation had been abused.

“At this point right now, we are reevaluating our role as mediators and how the parties are engaged with this mediation,” he said.

Al Thani said there were “limits” to what Qatar can do as a mediator, though top leaders of Hamas live in exile in the country.

Earlier Wednesday, Al Thani said that negotiations for a new cease-fire in Gaza were at a “delicate phase,” and that efforts were being made to address barriers to reaching a deal.

Qatar, Egypt and the United States have been involved in talks to secure a halt in fighting that would include the release of some hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza and the freeing of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the issue in a phone call with the Qatari prime minister on Tuesday. The U.S. State Department said the two officials reaffirmed “the importance of continuing to work closely together in the days ahead to achieve a cease-fire in Gaza that secures the release of all hostages.”

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called Wednesday for the world to focus its attention on the hostages, and for Hamas to immediately release the hostages and accept the cease-fire proposal.

“The only reason the conflict continues in Gaza is because they won’t take that deal,” Cameron said during a visit to Israel. “We need the hostages out. We need the aid in.”

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is scheduled to travel to Turkey in the coming days for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Three of Haniyeh’s sons and several of his grandchildren died in an Israeli strike on Gaza this month.