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Qatar denies US lawmaker's accusations of 'funding Hamas'

Qatar denies US lawmaker's claim that it pays Hamas $30 million a month
3 min read
09 April, 2024
Qatar said it 'does not pay Hamas', adding that it has 'contributed humanitarian assistance to Gaza since 2018' in coordination with the Israeli government.
Qatar has provided aid to Gaza in coordination with UN agencies [Neil Emmerson/Getty-file photo]

Qatar has strongly denied a US lawmaker's claim that Doha has paid the Palestinian group Hamas $30 million a month since 2018.

The claim was made by James Comer, Republican chair of the US House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Accountability, in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland bearing Monday's date.

"Qatar has reportedly hosted a Hamas headquarters in Doha, paying the terrorist group $30 million per month since 2018," Comer wrote.

"Qatar does not pay Hamas," Doha's embassy to the US said in response on social media platform X.

"In full coordination with the government of Israel, Qatar has contributed humanitarian assistance to Gaza since 2018."

The Qatari embassy added that the assistance comes in two forms, saying that since 2018, Doha has funded fuel purchases from Israel for a Gaza power station – with Israel controlling transfers at its border with the Palestinian enclave.

Doha has since August 2021 also funded a project administered by the UN's World Food Programme to give $100 a month to Gaza's poorest families, the embassy said.

"Notably, Qatar did not administer the distribution of this assistance, which was the responsibility of the United Nations and the World Food Programme, under the supervision of the state of Israel," the embassy added.

It said Israel "encouraged and strongly supported Qatar's contributions".

Comer's letter cited an article in the pro-Israeli American opinion magazine Commentary as the source for his claim.

The article linked to a feature piece published by right-wing Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, which acknowledged the funds were "granted a 'kosher certificate' or seal of approval by Israel".

Doha has long provided aid to Gaza and been a major diplomatic player in the Middle East.

"Qatar's humanitarian and mediation roles in Gaza are not new, and they go hand-in-hand to protect the civilian population," the embassy said.

Qatar is currently working with Egypt and the US to broker a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel in Gaza.

"There is more work to be done, and urgently. Misinformation about Qatar and its humanitarian contributions is unhelpful to these delicate negotiations," Doha's embassy said.

The Gulf state hosts Hamas leaders, facilitating negotiations and allowing engagement with the US.

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Israel's war on Gaza has so far killed 33,360 people, according to the enclave's health ministry.

The International Court of Justice in January said Israel was plausibly violating the UN Genocide Convention in Gaza.

British newspaper the Financial Times reported last month that Republicans in the US Congress were looking at allegations Qatari funding had swayed perceptions of Israel at top-level American universities.

The FT cited a Qatari official as saying Doha's funding for American universities was "allocated within Qatar, covering expenses such as the construction and maintenance of buildings and the salaries of employees".

The unnamed source said: "Recent claims about university funding have unfortunately been influenced by a well-funded and vicious campaign of disinformation."