Qatari FM to Israel: ‘You are offending 1.5 billion Muslims’
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Qatari FM to Israel: ‘You are offending 1.5 billion Muslims’

Foreign Minister Khalid Al Attiyah warns that current violence could become 'worst intifada so far'

Raoul Wootliff covers politics, corruption and crime for The Times of Israel.

Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah listens during a press conference in Doha, August 3, 2015. (AFP/Al-Watan Doha/Karim Jaafar)
Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah listens during a press conference in Doha, August 3, 2015. (AFP/Al-Watan Doha/Karim Jaafar)

Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah told Al-Jazeera on Tuesday that the Israeli “provocation” on the Temple Mount offends Muslims the world over.

“You are offending 1.5 billion Muslims when you are talking about the Masjid Al-Aqsa [the Al-Aqsa Mosque]… and we have raised the flag before,” he told Al Jazeera English’s current affairs show UpFront.

The foreign minister termed the violence in the West Bank “dangerous” and a “third intifada,” and said it could turn into “the worst intifada” thus far.

“The people who went to the street… [were] born after the Oslo Treaty and they saw there is no hope,” he said.

Attiyah discussed the war in Syria, relations with Iran and Israel, and the 2022 World Cup controversy in the UpFront interview.

Asked about the prospects that regional governments could help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Attiyah said that in the absence of a peace process, “I don’t think we are in a position to have any cooperation with Israel at this stage.”

In February, a Qatar-based senior Hamas leader praised the Gulf state’s “courageous” foreign minister after an apparent spat with Israel’s intelligence minister Yuval Steinitz at a German security conference.

In a statement, Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’s political bureau in Doha, backed Qatar’s foreign minister for his “strong, courageous statements and response to the lies of the ‘Zionists,’ and his defense of Hamas and the resistance during the Munich security conference.”

Attiyah said during a panel discussion that failure to make progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was “the main igniter to all the turbulence in the Middle East.”

He also asked why Israel wanted to be recognized as a Jewish state.

“The world is fighting a group calling itself Islamic State, and you want to come and say [you are] a Jewish state,” he said.

In response, Steinitz questioned why Qatar is “supporting a jihadist organization like Hamas or Islamic State, instead of putting all its efforts into eliminating such jihadi organizations.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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