Qatar, which was once cut off from the rest of the Arab world, now wields influence and aid in the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Qatar, a small affluent monarchy long embargoed by a quartet of powerful Arab governments, has exerted both influence and aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave whose fighters, commanded by the Hamas movement, recently fought in an 11-day confrontation with Israel.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “thanked the Foreign Minister for Qatar’s assistance in helping to secure the ceasefire between Israel, Hamas, and other parties in Gaza” in a phone call with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Thursday, and “underscored the importance of bringing together international support for humanitarian and development efforts in Gaza.”
The Qatari Foreign Ministry confirmed the report, adding that Qatar’s top diplomat stated that his country “would be at the forefront of assisting the brotherly Palestinian people.”
On the same day, Hamas Political Bureau Chairperson Ismail Haniyeh met with Qatari officials in Doha, Qatar’s capital, to discuss the region’s severe humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Despite voicing sympathy for Palestinians as a whole, the tiny peninsular state has already established an outsized influence in the area, particularly in Gaza, where other Arab governments have been unwilling to interact with the main Hamas movement.
These ties, as well as Qatar’s relationship with Iran, were used to justify a boycott of Qatar, which began in June 2017 and was removed in January 2021 by a Saudi-led bloc that also included Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.
After tensions in Israel-occupied East Jerusalem erupted into new hostilities earlier this month, Hamas and its allies fired rockets and the Israel Defense Forces attacked Palestinian fighters, Qatar’s alliance with Hamas and restored links to the Arab World would be essential to securing a truce.
Qatar presided over an Arab League emergency meeting on May 11 in which the country “tabled a proposal to unify the Arab League’s position through maximizing the diplomatic tools of member states,” according to a Qatari official quoted by Washington Newsday.
On the same day, Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, paid his first visit to Saudi Arabia since the neighboring state imposed a boycott. On the same day, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu paid a visit. This is a condensed version of the information.