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Qatar evaluates its role as mediator between Israel and Hamas

Qatar evaluates its role as mediator between Israel and Hamas


Qatar is rethinking its role as mediator between Israel and Hamas, its Prime Minister said on Wednesday during a press conference with his Turkish counterpart in Doha.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said, without further details, that his mediation had been abused.

“At this point, we are reassessing our role as mediators and how the parties engage in that mediation,” he said.

Al Thani said there were “limits” to what Qatar can do as a mediator, even though Hamas' top leaders live in exile in the country.

Earlier on Wednesday, Al Thani said negotiations for a new ceasefire in Gaza were in a “delicate phase” and efforts were being made to remove obstacles to reaching a deal.

Qatar, Egypt and the United States have participated in talks aimed at securing a halt to the fighting, which would include the release of some hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza and the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the issue on Tuesday in a phone call with the Qatari prime minister. The US State Department said the two officials reaffirmed “the importance of continuing to work closely together in the coming days to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza guaranteeing the release of all hostages.”

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron on Wednesday called on the world to focus its attention on the hostages and on Hamas to immediately release the hostages and accept the ceasefire proposal.

“The only reason the conflict continues in Gaza is because they won't accept this deal,” Cameron said during a visit to Israel. “We need the hostages. We need the help.”

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is due to travel to Turkey in the coming days for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Three of Haniyeh's sons and several of his grandchildren died in an Israeli strike on Gaza this month.

Military campaign

The Israeli military continued its campaign on Wednesday, saying its forces had carried out airstrikes on more than 40 Hamas targets over the past day.

Gaza's health ministry said Wednesday that Israeli military actions have killed at least 56 people over the past day, bringing the total since the start of the war to at least 33,899 people. The ministry says two-thirds of those killed are women and children.

Israel has recently focused its attacks on central Gaza, after striking northern Gaza and informing southern Gaza that an offensive there was imminent.

In the morgue of a hospital in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, the Nouri family wept Wednesday over body bags. An Israeli attack Tuesday on their family home, authorities said, killed 11 people, including children.

“Oh, people of the world, what is happening is wrong! Have mercy on us! Stop the war,” one man cried inside the hospital, Reuters reported.

An Israeli airstrike on a house in Rafah, southern Gaza, killed seven Palestinians, including a woman and three children, doctors said.

Gaza is on the brink of famine, numerous agencies have reported, but the United States and Israel say access to aid has improved this month. Food trucks entered Gaza's Ashdod port for the first time since Israel approved its opening to aid shipments, the army said Wednesday.

Israel launched its offensive in response to the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, which killed around 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures. The militants also took around 250 people hostage. Israel says about 130 hostages remain in captivity, but a quarter of them are dead. Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and others.

Israeli tanks pushed back parts of the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday and the Israeli army warned Palestinians not to return there. Israel said it did not want the Palestinians to return because it feared Hamas militants would regroup there.

Palestinian membership in the UN

The UN Security Council could vote as early as Thursday on a resolution recommending full membership status for the Palestinian Authority.

If the Security Council recommends the Palestinian Authority's candidacy, the United Nations General Assembly can approve it by a two-thirds majority.

But the measure's fate in the Security Council is unclear, with the United States holding one of the council's veto positions.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Wednesday during a visit to South Korea that the United States does not view the resolution as part of the path toward a two-state solution to the israelo-Palestinian conflict.

US President Joe Biden said in a statement last month that the United States views a two-state solution as “the only path to lasting peace.”

Some information in this report comes from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.




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