Key mediator Qatar lashes out at Netanyahu over remarks

Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will destroy Hamas' battalions in Rafah "with or without a deal".

Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will destroy Hamas' battalions in Rafah "with or without a deal". Photo: AP

Qatar is “appalled” by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s alleged remarks on its mediation role in the Gaza war after he called the Gulf state “problematic” in a leaked recording.

“We are appalled by the alleged remarks attributed to the Israeli Prime Minister in various media reports about Qatar’s mediation role,” Qatar foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari said.

“If the reported remarks are found to be true, the Israeli PM would only be obstructing and undermining the mediation process, for reasons that appear to serve his political career instead of prioritising saving innocent lives, including Israeli hostages,” he said in a statement.

In a leaked recording from a meeting with hostage families that aired on Israel’s Channel 12 news on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Qatar “problematic”.

“You haven’t seen me thank Qatar, have you noticed? I haven’t thanked Qatar. Why? Because Qatar, to me, is no different in essence from the UN, from the Red Cross and in a way it’s even more problematic.

“However, I’m willing to use any mediator now who can help me bring them (the hostages) home.”

An Israeli government spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on Qatar’s statement or whether the leaked recording was authentic.

Qatar, where several Hamas political leaders are based, has served as the main mediator between the movement that governs Gaza and Israeli officials in the conflict.

In November, Qatar helped secure a seven-day pause in fighting, during which 110 Israeli and foreign hostages were released from Gaza in return for 240 Palestinians released from Israeli captivity.

In the recording, Netanyahu went on to say that Qatar had leverage over Hamas because it funded the movement.

He told the hostage families that he recently “got very angry with the Americans” for renewing a deal to extend US military presence at a base in Qatar.

The Qatari spokesman said: “Instead of concerning himself with Qatar’s strategic relations with the United States, we hope Netanyahu decides to operate in good faith and concentrate on the release of the hostages.”


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