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Israel needs Qatar now, but will hold it accountable ‘later’

November 30, 2023 at 10:47 am

Hamas’ military wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades are present as the prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas, mediated by the United States of America, Egypt and Qatar, continues in Khan Yunis, Gaza on November 29, 2023 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

Israel needs Qatar’s help to release prisoners of war held in Gaza, a senior Israeli official said yesterday, but added that Tel Aviv will hold Doha accountable for its support for Hamas after the hostages are freed.

The Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director for Strategic Affairs, Joshua Zarka, who has recently been appointed ambassador to France, was speaking to Army Radio about efforts to monitor financial transfers to Hamas, the fight against it at various levels, and efforts to convince countries around the world to proscribe it as a terrorist organisation.

During the programme, the presenter said a number of the movement’s political leaders reside in Qatar and asked why Israel does not work against Doha itself because of that support, even though it is currently playing a positive role in the release of prisoners of war.

“We will hold Qatar accountable. I can tell you that we will hold Qatar accountable. Qatar played a bad role in everything related to the event that Hamas carried out and gave it legitimacy. We now need them [the Qataris], but when this matter is over, we will hold them accountable,” Zarka said.

“At least from our side, there is no doubt that everyone who stood by Hamas and everyone who is on the side of Hamas, will be pursued in every possible way,” he added.

READ: Israel angry over footage depicting Hamas’s treatment of released Israeli hostages