Israel severs ties with Qatar over… Palestinian statehood

on 38 Comments

Jordan Times, Lebanon’s The Daily Star and AlJazeera’s Qatar live blog are all reporting on an article from Maariv announcing:

Israel is angry with Qatar….The decision to end ties was taken by the highest echelons of the ministry, with the involvement of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Maariv said.

Nothing in the western press thus far. (update: Elliot Abrams breaks it here)

All of the stories open by repeating Israel’s claim the decision reflects Qatar’s close relationship with Hamas. And then there’s this:

Israel is also angry at Doha on account of the legal and political aid it is providing to the Palestinians ahead of their bid to seek UN membership in September – help provided by Qatar in its role as chair of the Arab League’s monitoring committee, Maariv said.

The ministry’s report claims that Qatar has been “significantly involved” in pushing the Palestinians to seek statehood in September and the legal preparations towards that.


“We have decided to take off the gloves in light of Qatar’s widespread and ongoing anti-Israeli activity,” a senior official told the paper.

“Qatar is currently leading the activity against Israel on the international front, and we cannot continue to behave towards it as if normal relations still existed.”

Middle East Monitor on the “punitive measure” Israel plans to take:

The Israeli Foreign Ministry, claimed Maariv, has outlined the steps it has taken against the tiny state. Over the past few months, for example, the government in Tel Aviv has sought to suppress every regional initiative promoted by Qatar and stopped several Qatar-funded projects in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories. More seriously, perhaps, Israel has also decided to close its diplomatic mission in Doha and ban Qatari officials from entering Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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38 Responses

  1. piotr
    August 27, 2011, 11:30 am

    Will they do the same to China? And the rest of Arab Legue?

    Those news seem to reflect Lieberman’s attitude. If Israel follows on those plans, there will be a nice pickle.

    And if Israel does not (and numerous other promised retaliations) the government will have eggs on their faces, because the radicals will carp endlessly.

    • annie
      August 27, 2011, 12:38 pm

      i doubt israel would try to do the same to china, but you never know. btw, just read this in israelnationalnews.

      Qatar has sought to send building materials to Gaza for various projects it is funding, but Israeli authorities have refused to allow the transfers. That policy is to continue, the report said, and in addition, Israel in recent months has acted to prevent Qatari officials from entering PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria. For example, Israel several months ago refused to allow a visit to Ramallah by the president of Qtel, the Qatari cellphone company. Israel also denied a request by Doha to remove its Qatar Foundation from a list of organizations that are prevented from operating in Judea and Samaria, because of its support for Hamas.

      Qatar is also the home of Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera, which the Foreign Ministry considers extremely anti-Israel. As a result, the Ministry has worked in recent months to prevent reporters from the network from operating in Israel, and has stopped giving them visas. Currently, the only way for an Al-Jazeera reporter to enter Israel is using a passport from a country that has full diplomatic relations with Jerusalem, but the Ministry is seeking ways to keep these individuals out of Israel as well.

      • Chaos4700
        August 27, 2011, 2:01 pm

        I suspect Israel would try to send their guniea pig in first, i.e., they will push Obama to put pressure on China. Why should Israel waste its good will with China when they can waste ours?

      • Hostage
        August 27, 2011, 4:12 pm

        Will they do the same to China? And the rest of Arab Legue?

        If anything, Qatar and Al Jazeera have been taking aggressive steps to preclude the option of a two state solution or further negotiations along those lines. See for example the Palestine Papers and the recent (not too persuasive) Legal opinion challenging the PLO statehood bid.
        link to

        It appears AJ favors dropping the bid and moving-on to an anti-apartheid campaign and the single state solution. I suspect that bothers the Israeli Foreign Ministry more than the role Qatar might currently be playing in the Arab League effort to support Palestine’s UN bid.

        If Israel and the US succeed in derailing the UN bid, the PLO might very well adopt the anti-apartheid and single state strategy – together with backing from other like-minded states.

      • Charon
        August 27, 2011, 6:49 pm

        Iran and some conspiracy theorists have said that AJ is controlled by Zionists. I wish more people would listen to conspiracy theorists and use critical thinking an research to come to a personal conclusion on whether or not they are on to something. The more crazy a conspiracy theory sounds, the more true it might be. When I first started reading about I/P, I thought that “Zionist and Neocon controlled congress” sounded insane but mostly because I didn’t know what a Zionist or a Neocon really was.

        AJ was established not long after Israel-Qatar relations. Peres, Barak, and Livini have made trips there. Peres, Barak, and Livini are often considered the more ‘serious’ Israeli politicians when it comes to peace despite their disappointments. Abbas trusts Livini despite her bombing the heck out of Gaza.

        I personally do not trust any of the above three. But what if AJ’s role in reporting criticism of Israel to the Arab world (and now the West) was by design? What if the above politicians really are serious about peace but had to hide it in order to not blow their cover? I used to think Sharon disengaging from Gaza and a couple settlements was a stalling tactic. Why would war criminal monster and anti-gentile Ariel Sharon care about the peace process after all? I know the odds are slim, but maybe toward the end he ‘woke up’ and really did have a change of heart. Maybe that stroke was not an accident.

      • Citizen
        August 27, 2011, 7:29 pm

        I noticed the news is out that Jackie O thought Johnson & his cronies were behind her husbands murder, and that was the beginning of a sea change in America that has continued to this day. 9/11 anniversary coming up, and I see our corporate media already lashing out at the 9/11 truth movement, trying to stop more Americans from becoming aware just how weak the official version of 9/11 is on the aggregated facts. After invasion of Iraq based on WMDs what American could possible believe their own government?

      • CigarGod
        August 28, 2011, 10:27 am

        Must be close to 30 years ago, I was wandering the book tables at a famous store (forgotten the name) in Emeryville/Berkeley. CA. I came across a book that told of Jackie…or someone else walking in on Johnson who was with the coffin on AF1. Said right out that Johnson was _____Kennedy in the neck wound.

        Just took a google…and there are lots of links to it.

      • annie
        August 28, 2011, 11:41 am

        oh my, i hadn’t heard of that AF1 story

      • CigarGod
        August 28, 2011, 12:39 pm

        From what I understand, Jackie really did walk in on LBJ as he was leaning over the coffin. She said he was talking and chuckling to JFK.

        Apparently, a guy named Krassner who was known for wild pranks was successful in spreading the more sensational version.

  2. Real Jew
    August 27, 2011, 11:47 am

    How despicable can the state of Israel get? They rather become an apartheid state, put the lives of their sons at risk, spend billions of dollars on Hasbara, allow extremist settlers to run the country, kidnap torture and murder children, instead of abiding by international law and seeking peace.

    And now that the Palestinian leadership has rightly grown tired of Israel’s tricks and are seeking independence elsewhere, Israel rather then admitting to themselves its time for peace, decided to dedicate all their resources to thwart the Pal’s efforts for statehood. And of course my govt the US decided to heed AIPAC’s call and threaten a veto at the UN. And if the bid for statehood continues the will stop sending aid to the Pals, sadly enough their primary income, without it the Pal leadership would collapse.

    As if anybody in the ME gives 2 sh*** about the US anymore. Honest broker my a**

    • Taxi
      August 27, 2011, 12:47 pm

      I share your disgust and outrage Real Jew. Israelis and their so-called friends are both stupid and abhorrent: their ‘master’ strategy is suicidal AND cruel to others too.

      • Citizen
        August 27, 2011, 1:06 pm

        Same here.

      • seafoid
        August 27, 2011, 4:18 pm

        Qatar, Turkey and Iran will all grow faster than Israel’s allies the US, Holland and the UK over the next 20 years. Israel needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

      • Shingo
        August 27, 2011, 6:39 pm

        Very true Taxi.

        So is Israel going to cut ties with all the states that vote for the Palestinian Resolution?

        Talk about self delegitimization.

  3. annie
    August 27, 2011, 11:59 am

    here’s something from 6 days ago in the bahrain news

    . (BNA) — Qatar has condemned in the strongest terms Israel’s “brutal » raids on Gaza and the killing of innocent Palestinian people.
    In a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), an official source at the Qatari Foreign Ministry said the raids constitute a continuation of the aggressive policy carried out by Israel against the Palestinian people in a flagrant violation of the international law.

    The same source called on the International community to assume its responsibility and move immediately and effectively to halt such attacks and end the unjust siege imposed on the Palestinian people by Israel.

  4. Taxi
    August 27, 2011, 12:06 pm

    Let’s get real here: israel has no reliable/established “ties” with no one. But israel sure as heck’s got a noose round our congress.

    That’s about as friendly of a “tie” the Apartheid state of israel has managed to achieve in it’s 64 years of brutal/non-peaceful existence.

    WTF?! I reckon the israelis are willfully kicking up a fuss about it cuz they wanna strain the positive relationship mounting these days between Qatar and USA. I mean surely israel didn’t really EXPECT an Arab country to ACT AGAINST Palestinian Statehood, right?

    Who they kidding with this prissy hiss-fit charade?!

    • annie
      August 27, 2011, 12:42 pm

      it bothers me because if they want to isolate take revenge out on qatar or vice versa it shouldn’t be impacting or determining qatars relationship (business or otherwise) with palestine. it shouldn’t be up to israel to determine who is allowed to do business with palestine.

    • seafoid
      August 27, 2011, 4:22 pm

      The Israeli relationship with the US is like 2 kings in hold em poker and beats most hands and Israel hasn’t lost in 44 years but the Palestinians now have the aces .

      • Shingo
        August 27, 2011, 6:46 pm

        it shouldn’t be up to israel to determine who is allowed to do business with palestine.

        Very good point Annie. This is like more severe than BDS by an order of magnitude, yet who thinks that Witty will call it fascist of Israel to impose it?

        What’s also doubly hypocritical, is that Israeli propagandists will continue to insist that the reason the Palestinian economy is in such a bad state is because the Palestinians insist on behaving as victims, blaming Israel for their plight, and being more preoccupied with deserting Israel than building an economy.

      • seafoid
        August 28, 2011, 6:20 am

        Israel’s policy since Oslo has been pauperisation.This is going to become a massive issue.

        The other thing about this September vote is that it’s going to expose to the world the main flaw in Israel’s YESHA model. The model assumes there are no Palestinians. Goys around the world are generally sympathetic and will tend to run with reality rather than what the Israeli model is saying.

      • CigarGod
        August 28, 2011, 10:32 am

        Makes me wonder about the motivations for the recent Eqypt/Israel dust-up. I’d be wanting to force a tighter Eqyptian border if I was about to squeeze Gaza harder.

  5. annie
    August 27, 2011, 12:06 pm

    omg, i have been googling qatar/israel to see if this will break thru the western press and this morning right after the daily star article on the top of the google page i notice just 2 other articles. one from memo (cited already ) and Arutz Sheva’s so i click on it. then, fleetingly i thought i noticed it said “Highly Cited” before Arutz Sheva and that seemed weird because i have no recollection of reading that from google before so i go back to check it..and guess what is there that wasn’t there just seconds before?

    elliot abrams! writing on the council of foreign relations… brave is qatar?. i have not read it yet but i find it odd his article is proceeding any western press.

    • annie
      August 27, 2011, 12:15 pm

      lol, he’s livid and catty

      In this context it is worth asking why, if Qatar is so supportive of the Palestinians, it gives them so little money. Today Qatar announced a gift of $50 million to the Palestinian Authority, to help pay salaries. This will be extremely helpful to the PA, but it brings its donations to the PA in 2011 to….well, to $50 million.

      • mmm245
        August 27, 2011, 2:35 pm

        He’s getting ripped apart in the comments section by readers calling him out for his “if you don’t support israel you must be a bad country” argument.

      • annie
        August 28, 2011, 12:00 pm

        thanks for the heads up. yes he is getting ripped in the comment section.
        oh lookie, i just googled israel qatar again and look what comes up first on top. it is our article published on mideast it gives credit to mondoweiss but doesn’t link here. and under “news” it is also first at the top directly followed by AIC’s report.

        i find it extremely odd there is still nothing in AP or wapo or anything. isn’t this news worthy?

      • Walid
        August 27, 2011, 4:15 pm

        Qatar’s no cheapskate in spite of the “only” 50 million sent to the PA. Back during the 2009 Israeli turkey shoot of Gazans while Egypt had them pinned down, Qatar sent a jumbo with a fully equipped and staffed mobile hospital but it couldn’t get Egyptian clearance to leave Cairo airport for weeks. When it finally got it, the mobile hospital remained parked on the Egyptian side of Rafah because Egypt (and Israel) would not let it enter Gaza. It was eventually sent back to Qatar without having entered Gaza. Qatar then entered into a joint reconstruction project with France for Gaza’s al-Quds Hospital but Israel never allowed Qatar bring in the needed materials to do the job. Netanyahu eventually let France finish rebuilding the emergency ward of al-Quds in recognition of Sarkozy’s disparaging of Iran. I’m guessing that Israel wouldn’t let Qatar Tel enter the WB may have something to do with Abbas’s son’s WB cell company.

        Qataris are the good guys of the Arab world. They spent 300 million to rebuild Bint Jbail in Lebanon after Israel had totally destroyed it in 2006. They also paid 100 million to rebuild a neighbourhood of New Orleans and to set up a college fund for the underprivileged after Katrina. Contrary to other Arabs that just send money to the government of the country in need and never look back at what the money was used for, Qatar supervises the actual rebuilding and the cash disbursements to ensure the money reaches those that need it. In the last 3 years, to Israel’s chagrin, Qatar stood in the way of having a civil war reignited in Lebanon on 2 occasions. It’s just about the only Arab country along with Syria that isn’t all blind hugs and kisses with Israel. Yesterday or the day before, the Emir of Qatar paid a cordial visit to Ahmadinejad and that surely pissed off Israel even more. It was following that visit that Iran suggested to Syria to start being nice to its people.

      • Eva Smagacz
        August 27, 2011, 6:31 pm

        Thank you, Walid.

  6. justicewillprevail
    August 27, 2011, 12:26 pm

    And so Israel and its army of agents scuttles around the world, demanding, threatening, blackmailing and armtwisting countries into doing its bidding. All to block Palestine doing exactly what they did. What a sorry bunch of wannabe gangsters and bullies, determined to keep their tinpot little apartheid state where they must be able to keep killing and maiming defenceless people, just so they can have everything they want, and force the Palestinians to have nothing.

  7. pabelmont
    August 27, 2011, 4:03 pm

    So, the short of it is this, that Israel has begun nation-level BDS against Qatar. WHAT I WONDER is why QATAR didn’t do BDS against Israel long ago (yes, and all other nations, too), by removing ambassadors and cutting commercial air-ties and business ties — to induce Israel to comply with international law.

    OK, here, Israel moved first. But Qatar is hardly the only state in solidarity with Palestine.

    • Charon
      August 27, 2011, 6:28 pm

      Interesting point. The ‘Foreign Relations of Qatar’ article on Wikipedia says a few odd things regarding their relations with Israel:

      link to

      Conspiracy theorists have said in the past that Qatar-Israel relations were established to change Israel’s image in the ME via Al Jazeera which was created shortly afterward. If there is any truth to this, it must have backfired considering all the criticism they report toward Israel.

      People need to examine singling out more seriously and use critical thinking skills (which are sadly lacking these days). Another example I can think of is the Armenian genocide. Why is Israel obsessed with the Armenian genocide? I used to think it was because they wanted to have a monopoly on genocide and nothing more but then I read how Armenians mentioned masked foreign mercenaries. There was no Israel back then but perhaps it was a clandestine and the Zionists know something about it.

      • Walid
        August 28, 2011, 2:13 am

        “Conspiracy theorists have said in the past that Qatar-Israel relations were established to change Israel’s image in the ME via Al Jazeera which was created shortly afterward.”

        It actually started out about 15 years ago as a joint venture between the BBC and the Saudis; the word Jazeera means peninsula as in the Arabian peninsula, not the Qatari one. 18 months into its broadcasting, it aired a program on dissent in Saudi Arabia which rubbed the Saudis the wrong way to the point of wanting to pull the plug on the station. The Emir of Qatar stepped in and bought it for 140 million. It only became prominent after its coverage of the US horrors in the Afghanistan war and a bit later with likewise US horrors in Iraq for which its offices were bombed twice by the US. It now has an annual operating budget of about $50 million almost totally funded by the Emir of Qatar. Jazeera also brought to the world the horrors committed by Israel in 2006 in Gaza and Lebanon and in 2008-9 during Cast Lead.

        Conspiracy theorists are saying that Jazeera gained so much credibility especially in the Arab world for its great coverage of Gaza and Lebanon and more currently in Tunisia and Tarir Square that now all Arabs believe whatever that network tells them and that it’s this blind credibility that was of a great help in selling the bogus version of what was actually happening in Libya and winning the war against Gaddafi and that it’s now on a similar disinformation campaign to overthrow Assad in Syria. Jazeera was suddenly granted a license to broadcast in NYC a couple of weeks ago.

        An interesting fact about Jazeera Arabic, it’s most popular weekly program with an audience of 40 million, is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s; he’s an Egyptian theologian and former spiritual head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that has been living in exile in Qatar since the Brotherhood was outlawed in Egypt decades ago. He made his first visit to Egypt after the fall of Mubarak where he made a fire and brimstone speech to the crowd in Tahrir Square and he has helped the cause in Libya by issuing fatwas on the life of Gaddafi and he’s ardent anti-Israel campaigner.

  8. piotr
    August 27, 2011, 6:37 pm

    Qatar is a “moderate” country. First, it hosts a very important American base, I think regional command of US forces is there, so it is not like US government can easily snub them. Diplomatically, if Israel breaks ties it is probably much better for Qatar than vice versa. Right now, Israel is a whining champion of boycotts.

    The preference for supervised projects rather than for direct subsidies of PA probably says that they do not support politics of PA.

  9. Shingo
    August 27, 2011, 6:59 pm

    Every time I read statements by Israeli spin doctors that support for Palesrinians is anti Israel, it only serves to prove that negotiating with Osrael is impossible.

    Israeli leaders have backed thrmselves into a corner with this argument, because it has framed the debate in such a way that a politicsl settlememt is bas for Israel. Iif giving anything to the Palestinians is anti Israeli, then why would any Israeli leader reach a settlement with them – and act against Israel’s interests?

  10. piotr
    August 27, 2011, 11:22 pm


    they did not teach Zionist logic in your school.

    For example, we discussed an article in which the author was proving that it is anti-Semitic to claim that Zionists equate opposition to Zionism with anti-Semitism because … because (a) the author seems to be self-styled Zionist, (b) he “proved” that this is actually the same thing, so he equated, so to speak.

    BUT — it is OK for him to say so, but not if your intentions are wrong.

    This if you claim that negotiations make no sense with GOOD intentions, like, Israel forever from Mediterranean to Jordan (as a major concession, mind you, Jordan should be in Israel too), that is OK. But if you claim it with wrong intention, kaboom.

    This is of course the same logic as applied by most of American right wing. The most important distinction is between good and evil. The distinction is made as follows: first we have to determine who is good and who is evil (by means of satori, Biblical prophesy etc.) and then what the good guys do, say etc. is good, and what the bad guys say, do etc. is bad.

    Above, Walid gets his logic backward (relative to that standard, which is backward from his point of view). He examines the conduct of Qatar to argue that they are good guys. Let us call it Walidian approach.

    When I lapse into Walidianism, I am sometimes amazed how the same thing, like gay rights or socialized medicine is evil in USA and good in Israel.

    A digression: Armenian genocide. Interestingly, Ahmedinejad visited the capital of Armenia and in a speech to Parliament he made a big point of the deepest Iranian sympathy for Armenian holocaust. Armenia is in a rather hard spot, and without support of Iran and Russia would not survive. And it is THE OLDEST CHRISTIAN NATION. Which during another Walidian moment made me wonder, when Sen. McCain proved that we had to support Georgia against Russia because it is the SECOND OLDEST CHRISTIAN NATION. Perhaps it does not count because they do not follow Nicean creed? By they way, Turkey does not have slightest problem with Iranian recognition of Armenian holocaust.

    • Walid
      August 28, 2011, 3:02 am

      Piotr, I couldn’t understand your problem with Qatar. I just said they were the good guys of the Arab world as in the comparative sense about Arabs with lots of money and how they dish it out. After the 2006 war on Lebanon, Qatar pledged to rebuild Bint Jbail and carried out its promise, and supervised the work till completed. After the same war, Saudi Arabia sent 2 billions but the money never made it to the people. The government used the 2 billions for something else and this resulted in only a slight reprimand of the Lebanese government by the Saudis.

      Are you saying that you find my reasoning about Qatar faulty because the Americans have a huge air base there?

      • Bumblebye
        August 28, 2011, 11:14 am

        Re-read, Walid. He’s mocking “Zionist logic”, which is merely baffling nonsense! Zionist and neocon support for Israel trumpets gay rights and socialized health care in Israel, while demonizing same in US as a for instance.

      • Walid
        August 28, 2011, 2:07 pm

        Thanks, Bumblebye, it threw me off after I spent 5 minutes Googling Walidianism and it turned out to be something creepy on FB but I’m sure of no relation to what piotr was talking about.

      • piotr
        August 29, 2011, 2:12 am

        “Walidianism” is your logic (ethic, perhaps). Nothing wrong with that, except that with that logic you cannot understand the arguments of wingnuts and their Zionists friends.

        More seriously, Qatar seems to be an absolute feudal monarchy, but with rulers who somehow combine Muslim piety and large degree of enlightment, like well run foreign aid and the best TV channel of the Arab world. Like many small states, Qatar has to follow realpolitik and make itself useful to the more powerful. Hosting an important military base is a better way than playing an enthusiastic vassal in UN, helping to conduct tortures etc. [and they provide free internet and decent place to sleep at Doha airport]

        However, discussing minutia like that is not the correct approach from a non-Walidian point of view: instead we must get some fact-independent proof of Qatari goodness (or no-goodness). For example, we can draw a neo-Platonic diagram with the ultimate good at its apex, and see where Qatar fits. In the words of Elliot Abrams “A reasonable test of the Qatari ability to provide real leadership and new thinking is Qatar’s relations with Israel, which are getting worse and worse.”. Lukashenka can get along famously with Avigdor Lieberman, and Emir of Qatar cannot? I rest my case.

        One could note that normally the neo-Platonic diagrams have quite extensive hierarchy, and apart from the ultimate source of goodness, Israel, there is also a lesser but still important source, USA, and Qatar’s policies are perfectly aligned with American, e.g. supporting democracy in Libya and supporting despotism in Bahrain (not to mention hosting a VERY important and hard to replace military base). Since goodness of USA is validated, we can place USA in the second tier, and Qatar, in the third.

        So we have our goodness hierarchy:

        The Source, Logos (Tier Zero)
        Chosen Nation (tier one)
        Real Leadership (tier two, does exactly what tier one says)
        OK, but not perfect (Norway, Qatar, France on a good day etc.)

        etc. with The Enemy on the bottom.

        Try to draw it on a piece of paper. Instantly, many events become understandable. Like, why was it important for 81 denizens of Capitol Hill to visit Israel when they could use the summer recess to meet the constituents, campaign donors, try to find some facts on economy etc. Yes, those things are important TOO, but there is still a hierarchy. And the top priority should be: preserve the best place in the hierarchy of goodness that USA can attain. And sorry, to late to become The Chosen People, the Boon of Exceptionalism can be granted only for the conduct becoming of Tier Two.

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