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Qatar ‘strikes back’ at Gaza mediation critics

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DOHA / JERUSALEM: As a delegation from Gaza truce mediator Egypt arrived in Israel on Friday, criticism of Qatar over its role as a mediator between Israel and Hamas prompted a rare pushback by the Gulf state against its detractors.

Qatar, which has hosted Hamas’s political leadership since 2012 with the blessing of the US, has been engaged in months of behind-the-scenes talks, but in the face of calls — particularly from Israel and the US — for Qatar to exert pressure on Hamas, the emirate has warned it could walk away as a mediator.

This week, foreign ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari said the decision to re-evaluate its role was pro­m­pted by frustration with pol­itical attacks including from figures in the Israeli government.

“They all know what the Qatari role is, its nature, and its details during the previous stage and they lied,” the Qatari spokesman said, referring to November’s week-long truce when scores of Israeli and foreign hostages were released through Doha’s mediation.

Egyptian officials in Israel

A team from Gaza war mediator Egypt arrived in Israel on Friday for a bid to reignite stalled truce and prisoner swap talks.

The signs of fresh truce talks come alongside Israeli preparations for a military push in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah.

There has been “noticeable progress in bringing the views of the Egyptian and Israeli delegations closer”, said Al-Qahera News, which is linked to Egyptian state intelligence services.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2024

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