The Qatari government has swiftly responded to leaked voice messages featuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticizing Qatar’s role in the ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas militants.
The leaked recordings, reportedly from a meeting between Netanyahu and the families of captives in Tel Aviv, reveal the Israeli leader accusing Qatar’s mediation of being “problematic.”
Netanyahu went on to claim that Qatar funds Hamas, a statement consistently denied by the Gulf country. In the leaked recording, he likened Qatar to international organizations like the United Nations and the Red Cross, deeming it even more problematic.
The Israeli PM expressed a willingness to engage with anyone facilitating the return of captives but emphasized his lack of illusions about Qatar, citing its alleged financial support for Hamas.
The leaked recording also unveiled Netanyahu’s criticism of the United States’ decision to extend its military presence at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar for another 10 years. He expressed frustration, stating that he got “very angry recently with the Americans” and suggested using the military deal as leverage to apply pressure on Qatar.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Majed Al Ansari, responded strongly to the allegations, calling the remarks irresponsible and destructive to efforts aimed at saving innocent lives. Al Ansari highlighted Qatar’s successful mediation alongside Egypt in achieving a temporary truce between November 24 and December 1 the previous year.
Despite challenges, including ongoing Israeli attacks and a ground invasion of Gaza, Qatar remained engaged in regular dialogue with negotiating parties, including Israeli institutions, according to Al Ansari.
“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 prioritizing saving innocent lives, including Israeli hostages,” emphasized Al Ansari.
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