Israeli officials say only Qatar can mediate hostage release deal

Israeli officials say only Qatar can mediate hostage release deal
Israeli officials said that only Qatar can mediate the release of hostages held by Hamas, after Qatar said it would reassess its role in talks
3 min read
22 April, 2024
Qatar has in recent days refuted criticism from Israeli and US officials [Getty]

Israeli officials have said that no other country but Qatar can mediate a hostage release deal, highlighting the importance of Doha's role in talks, according to Israeli media reports cited by Al Jazeera.

The Israeli officials, who were not named, said that Israel had criticised Qatar despite asking the Gulf nation to mediate talks with Hamas.

"Doha fulfilled the Israeli requests and for this reason, Israel has no right to attack it," the Israeli officials said, according to Al Jazeera.

The comments come after Qatar’s prime minister said last week that his country was reassessing its role as a mediator in negotiations aimed at bringing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the release of captives from Gaza.

"Qatar is in the process of a complete re-evaluation of its role," Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani told a Doha news conference alongside Turkey’s foreign minister, Hakan Fidan.

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"There is exploitation and abuse of the Qatari role," he said, adding that Qatar had been the victim of "point-scoring" by "politicians who are trying to conduct election campaigns by slighting the State of Qatar".

His comments also came a day after US Democratic lawmaker Steny Hoyer accused Doha of "siding with Hamas" and said Washington would re-evaluate its ties with Qatar if it failed to pressure the Palestinian group to accept a truce proposal by Israel.

This, in turn, prompted Qatar to release a statement, expressing surprise at the threat made by Hoyer.

"We share his frustration that Hamas and Israel have not reached an agreement on the release of the remaining hostages…but Qatar is only a mediator – we do not control Israel or Hamas," the statement read.

The statement added that Qatar’s mediation role exists only because they were asked to assume the position by the US in 2012 as Israel and Hamas refused to engage in direct talks.

"But blaming and threatening the mediator is not constructive, especially when the target is a friend and Major non-NATO ally that presently hosts 10,000 US troops and America’s largest military presence in the Middle East," Qatar said in the statement.

Doha's sharply worded comments came after Hoyer released a statement saying Hamas had responded to Israel's latest truce offer with "absurd demands" and "unfeasible requirements", which included a permanent ceasefire and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.


He claimed that Hamas was using Qatar to extract greater concessions from Israel and that Doha finances and backs the group.

Qatar has for years vehemently denied such accusations.

In November, Qatar's ambassador to the US, Meshal bin Hamad al-Thani, responded to Republican Senator Ted Budd's accusation that the Gulf monarchy had a "pro-Hamas policy" by saying that Doha does not endorse the group.

Earlier this month, Qatar strongly denied a US lawmaker's claim that Doha has paid Hamas $40 million a month since 2018.

Following Qatar’s statement, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller later said that Qatar had been and continues to be a "close partner" in the efforts to release Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

In a news briefing, Miller said Qatar had done everything it could to get the captives home.

Doha has hosted Hamas' political leadership since 2012, with the approval of the US. It has rebuffed frequent criticism of its mediation from Israel, including by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.