Report: Qatar scuttled Gaza cease-fire for not having seat at Cairo table

posted at 10:01 am on August 20, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Interestingly, this report comes not from a Western or Israeli source but from “a senior Fatah official” who spoke with Al-Hayat, a pan-Arab newspaper based in London. The Jerusalem Post picks up the story from Al-Hayat, in which the official from the rival Palestinian faction blames yesterday’s cease-fire violation by Hamas on Qatar, which has long hosted Hamas leadership. The Qataris refused to allow Khaled Mashaal to approve a longer-term truce with Israel without their participation in the talks, and threatened to kick Mashaal out of the country unless he began waging war again to pressure Egypt into an invitation:

A senior Fatah official is quoted by the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat as saying that the Qatari government threatened to expel the Hamas political bureau chief, Khaled Mashaal, if the Palestinian Islamist group agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. …

The Fatah official told Al-Hayat that Hamas has insisted that Qatar be given a seat at the negotiating table in Cairo. According to the official, Hamas wants either the Qatari foreign minister or the head of intelligence to be permitted to take part in the discussions.

Egypt has adamantly refused to permit Qatar to participate in the cease-fire talks, according to the report. Cairo wants a Qatari apology for the government’s policies toward Egypt since the military coup against the Muslim Brotherhood brought Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power.

If so, that puts the US in a difficult spot. Several American administrations have tried to build up an alliance with the Qataris, and we recently sold them $11 billion in military equipment to sweeten the relationship. Even more recently, Barack Obama cut a deal with the Taliban for the release of Bowe Bergdahl that included the release of five of the most dangerous Taliban figures in Guantanamo, who will spend the next year under the supervision of the same Qataris. If this report from the “senior Fatah official” is true, then it considerably undermines what little confidence Americans had in the Bergdahl swap, among other things.

Among those other things is John Kerry, Jeff Dunetz argues:

If the Al-Hayat report is true then the break down of talks falls directly at the feet of John Kerry. It was the United States Secretary of State who initially brought Qatar into the talks over the objections of Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. Now that those parties have frozen out the terrorist-funding Qatar, the Qatari government want to make sure they don’t succeed.

That’s true even if this report isn’t. The idea to rope Turkey and Qatar into the process was a dumb idea from the beginning, as it legitimized Hamas as a governing organization rather than treated them as the terrorist group that they are. It cut the knees out from under the Palestinian Authority as well, with whom Israel had at least some basis of cooperation in the West Bank. That brings us to whether this report can be trusted, however. Fatah has every reason to pin failure on Qatar in order to keep them out of the peace talks. Qatar will favor Hamas over Fatah in any settlement in which they participate, so it’s in Fatah’s interest as well as Egypt’s to keep them locked out of the talks.

As to the identity of the “senior Fatah official” who spoke to Al-Hayat, don’t forget who went to Qatar this week: Mahmoud Abbas. He was set to meet with Mashaal today or tomorrow to discuss the peace talks, but that was scheduled prior to Israel uncovering the Hamas coup plot against the Palestinian Authority. To say that there is motivation to marginalize Hamas and its Qatari backers is to engage in understatement.

Egypt, meanwhile, is not about to invite the Qataris or anyone else backing Hamas to these talks. They are fighting their own insurgency in the Sinai, for which they blame the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent organization of Hamas. Today they found four beheaded corpses near a village in the peninsula, and Reuters reports that this is part of a stepped-up terror campaign by MB-linked groups protesting the al-Sisi military government:

Four beheaded corpses were found by residents of a town in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, security sources said, blaming Islamist militants waging an insurgency against Cairo.

The security sources in Sinai and Cairo, said residents of Sheikh Zuwaid found the bodies two days after the men were abducted by gunmen while traveling in a car in the town, a few kilometers from the Gaza Strip.

Though the men were civilians, they may have been targeted for their perceived allegiance to the police and army, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. They gave no other indication of the identity of the men.

The militants have stepped up attacks on policemen and soldiers since then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013.

The government does not distinguish between the Sinai militants and the Brotherhood, which it has designated a terrorist group although the movement says it is peaceful and denies any links to the wave of militant attacks.

In other words, Cairo won’t be particularly well disposed to nations who fund MB-related groups anyway, and that probably applies particularly to Hamas. If John Kerry wants to be useful, he should apply American pressure on Qatar to butt out of the Gaza peace process, or kick Mashaal out for good and let him take his own chances in Gaza City rather than cheer on war from the safety of Doha. The Israelis are targeting Hamas leadership now that Hamas has broken another cease-fire, but Mashaal might have more to fear from other Gazans if he shows up in the enclave.


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Muslim Brotherhood.

Obama ♥ the Muslim Brotherhood.

albill on August 20, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Where the hell has John Kerry been?

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2014 at 10:09 AM

I think Israel would look lovely encompassing the entire are of the Middle East. Israel oil sounds so much better than Saudi oil. I’m tired of playing with these people.

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2014 at 10:10 AM

I think Israel would look lovely encompassing the entire are of the Middle East. Israel oil sounds so much better than Saudi oil. I’m tired of playing with these people.

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Though it may cause some initial confusion, I’d support keeping the name ISIS- Israeli States of Iraq and Syria.

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2014 at 10:12 AM

How do you spell “Reset” in Qatari Arabic? Morons!

Deano1952 on August 20, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Think of the savings on stationary alone!!!!

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2014 at 10:19 AM

There is whining today about some cop in Ferguson telling the Al Jizz reporters to pack up and leave. Al Jizz is owned by the ruling family of Quatar who also funds Hamas and ISIS. So screw them and every one who works for them.

Blake on August 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

The idea to rope Turkey and Qatar into the process was a dumb idea from the beginning, as it legitimized Hamas as a governing organization rather than treated them as the terrorist group that they are. It cut the knees out from under the Palestinian Authority as well, with whom Israel had at least some basis of cooperation in the West Bank.

It cut the knees out from under the Israelis too, as Hamas is routinely responsible for disregarding any chances of a long-lasting ceasefire and thus peace, as Hamas is the barbaric cancer of Palestinian “governance” that won’t go away. The Qataris should be cut loose and treated just as we treat Iran. Oh, wait. We don’t treat Iran with greater hostility as we should but with kid gloves. Thanks, Kerry and Obama.

Aizen on August 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Qatar’s government aids and abets Hamas. They are a terrorism-enabling nation.

Immolate on August 20, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Thanks goodness the Qatari government is going to keep those 5 released Gitmo prisoners for a year.

Walter L. Newton on August 20, 2014 at 10:27 AM

The Norks have the right idea.

Off Drudge –

NKorea calls John Kerry ‘wolf with hideous lantern jaw’…

formwiz on August 20, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Qatar’s government aids and abets Hamas. They are a terrorism-enabling nation.

Immolate on August 20, 2014 at 10:24 AM

One who, as Ed pointed out, is trusted by our rat-eared tyrant with a Muslim name to prevent recidivism among terrorist leaders.

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2014 at 10:34 AM

I thought Qatar was our friend? That’s why we gave them the 5 bad guys to look after from Gitmo.

Tater Salad on August 20, 2014 at 10:34 AM

I thought Qatar was our friend? That’s why we gave them the 5 bad guys to look after from Gitmo.

Tater Salad on August 20, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Nah, the swap was instituted for two reasons:

You need to get rid of the bad guys before there is a justification to close Gitmo.

Leaving behind a “POW” as we turn tail and run from Afghanistan is problematic. That Bergdahl is really a deserter has caused a separate set of problems for the rat-eared wonder that could well leaving him wishing that he didn’t make the deal.

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Take the World Cup away…

Arab pride being what it is should make the situation hilarious and pitiful at the same time.

Theworldisnotenough on August 20, 2014 at 10:45 AM

If this report from the “senior Fatah official” is true, then it considerably undermines what little confidence Americans had in the Bergdahl swap, among other things.

Only conquered Arabs are allies and only so long as they stay conquered. Arabs respect ONLY the strong horse. Obama is the lame horse. This should be obvious by now. It has been almost 13 years people. Arab culture is not that hard to understand.

Theworldisnotenough on August 20, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Wait. What? I thought Pelosi said Qatar is peaful. C’mon. this can’t be true (sarc)

BobK on August 20, 2014 at 11:13 AM

The Norks have the right idea.

Off Drudge –

NKorea calls John Kerry ‘wolf with hideous lantern jaw’…

formwiz on August 20, 2014 at 10:30 AM

In fairness, John is looking pretty scary since the plastic surgery…

Dolce Far Niente on August 20, 2014 at 11:53 AM

They aimed for the airport.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Cut off ALL AID to Qatar for their state support for terrorism.

Ban their elites from traveling to the US.

ConstantineXI on August 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

There is whining today about some cop in Ferguson telling the Al Jizz reporters to pack up and leave. Al Jizz is owned by the ruling family of Quatar who also funds Hamas and ISIS. So screw them and every one who works for them.

Blake on August 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Terror Television should not be allowed to be broadcast in the US.

ConstantineXI on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

I think Israel would look lovely encompassing the entire are of the Middle East. Israel oil sounds so much better than Saudi oil. I’m tired of playing with these people.

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2014 at 10:10 AM

I get the frustration. I really do. But you are advocating genocide on a scale never seen since the Great Deluge.

Reuben Hick on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

I get the frustration. I really do. But you are advocating genocide on a scale never seen since the Great Deluge.

Reuben Hick on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

With islam it’s a choice between their genocide or OURS. If you do not understand that you are ignorant of the facts of history.

I choose their elimination.

ConstantineXI on August 20, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Reuben Hick on August 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

The Arabs living under full Israeli control enjoy far more rights than their counterparts in Gaza or any other Muslim nation. The best thing that could happen to any of them is Israel taking over their countries.

Genocide, now that what happens when Muslims empires expand. Over and over again.

ChicagoJewishGuy on August 20, 2014 at 12:16 PM

**Genocide, now that’s what happens when Muslim empires expand. Over and over again.

Little speak-o there!

ChicagoJewishGuy on August 20, 2014 at 12:18 PM

**Genocide, now that’s what happens when Muslim empires expand. Over and over again.

Little speak-o there!

ChicagoJewishGuy on August 20, 2014 at 12:18 PM

The Religion of Peace: Committing Genocide since 632AD

ConstantineXI on August 20, 2014 at 12:26 PM

The jihadis are going nuts on twitter. Issuing all sorts of threats accompanied by photos of beheadings. All you can do is report them. Twitter has been very good about deleting accounts.

Remember, these same people are supported by Quatar.

Blake on August 20, 2014 at 12:31 PM

question:

what does supporting hamas do for qatar??????

hamas is a gang of terrorist thugs which seems a bad fit for the qataris who are otherwise relatively moderate and outer-involved.

i wonder if hamas is supplying the qatari ruling class with sex-slaves and drugs?

reliapundit on August 20, 2014 at 12:32 PM

It was the United States Secretary of State who initially brought Qatar into the talks over the objections of Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

Just some more of that Smart Power!

But no worries! “The adults are in charge now”!

GarandFan on August 20, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Qatar’s government aids and abets Hamas. They are a terrorism-enabling nation.

Immolate on August 20, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Yes, and they must be made to account for their support for terrorism, either by the IAF or Barry’s drones.

slickwillie2001 on August 20, 2014 at 12:58 PM

what does supporting hamas do for qatar??????

hamas is a gang of terrorist thugs which seems a bad fit for the qataris who are otherwise relatively moderate and outer-involved.

reliapundit on August 20, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Jihad is a religious obligation.

Being wealthy and modern (not moderate, modern), the Qataris have zero interest in fulfilling this themselves, they fulfill their religious obligation by supporting groups like Hamas.

Kind of like you donating to a charity if you can’t go and serve yourself, just less… wholesome.

ChicagoJewishGuy on August 20, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Only conquered Arabs are allies and only so long as they stay conquered. Arabs respect ONLY the strong horse. Obama is the lame horse. This should be obvious by now. It has been almost 13 years people. Arab culture is not that hard to understand.

Theworldisnotenough on August 20, 2014 at 10:53 AM

I wouldn’t say Obama is a lame horse.
Only the latter half of one.

ReggieA on August 20, 2014 at 3:06 PM

The worm turns.

vnvet on August 20, 2014 at 3:33 PM

John Kerry would be more useful if he would just resign his post and retire to his yacht.

RebeccaH on August 20, 2014 at 5:13 PM