Israel must remove Qatar from Gaza equation, says Likud minister

Israel’s Economy Minister pushes for local Palestinian tribal rule as alternative to statehood, says Qatar must be cut off from Gaza Strip.

By World Israel News Staff

A senior Israeli minister is pushing for the government to end Qatar’s involvement in the Gaza Strip – undoing over a decade of Israeli foreign policy.

Economy Minister Nir Barkat, a member of the ruling Likud party who has positioned himself as a potential future replacement for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview published Sunday that Israel must end Doha’s patronage of the Hamas terror organization and the Gaza Strip.

Since at least 2007, oil-rich Qatar has been a key financier of Hamas, and has since become the single largest donor to the Gaza Strip.

Following the Hamas invasion of Israel on October 7th and the taking of some 250 captives, Doha has worked alongside Egypt to mediate between Hamas and Israel for ceasefire and hostage talks.

Qatar also hosts a number of senior Hamas leaders living in exile, including politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh, who relocated to Qatar in 2017.

Prior to October 7th, Israel had turned a blind eye to Qatar’s cash transfers to Hamas, in the hopes of securing quiet on the Gaza frontier in exchange for allowing the payments.

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Now, however, Barkat is calling to end Doha’s influence in Gaza, accusing the monarchy of funding a massive “soft war” against the Jewish state.

Qatar, Barkat argued, must be “thrown out of the equation,” comparing the hardline emirate to terrorist groups including ISIS and Hamas.

“Qatar is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, is infused with Iran, and is the world’s greatest funder of terror,” Barkat said.

“They funded ISIS, Taliban, Hamas, and every other Muslim Brotherhood terror cell in the world. They are a wolf in sheepskin.”

The Qatari monarchy, which owns the Al Jazeera media outlet, has spent a trillion dollars to wage a “soft war” against Israel in the court of public opinion worldwide, Barkat claimed, citing the ongoing pro-Hamas demonstrations on U.S. college campuses, where the Qatari government leads as the world’s top foreign donor.

Last month, Israel’s Knesset past a law targeting Al Jazeera, allowing the government to shutter the anti-Israel news organization during the ongoing war.

Israel must block Qatar’s influence in Gaza, Barkat said, and recruit other Arab states including Jordan and Egypt to fill the vacuum.

Barkat also put forth an alternative plan to Palestinian statehood, arguing instead for a proposal drafted by Bar-Ilan University Arab affairs expert Mordechai Keidar, under which Arab tribal leaders would be allowed autonomy inside Palestinian Arab cities.

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The arrangement would effectively replace the Palestinian Authority, and allow Israelis living in Judea and Samaria to remain under Israeli control.

Calling the two-state solution untenable, Barkat said he has already begun lobbying American lawmakers to support his alternative plan.

“I’ve been telling them, ‘Look, if you bang your head against the wall, it’s not going to help because huge amounts of the Israeli public will never accept a two-state solution.’”