Qatar as mediator ‘problematic,’ US could be applying more pressure, Netanyahu tells hostages’ families

In a recent meeting with the families of the hostages, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Qatar acting as the mediator between Israel and the Palestinian terror group was “problematic,” and appeared to express disappointment with Washington for not applying more pressure on the Gulf state, which hosts Hamas leaders.

“I think you need to speak to the hearts of the international community to apply pressure on those who can apply pressure,” Netanyahu is heard telling the families in a leaked recording aired by Channel 12 tonight.

He says Qatar should be the first address, even as he notes that he has never thanked Doha publicly for its role.

“Qatar, from my point of view, is no different in essence than the United Nations… and the Red Cross, [Qatar] is even more problematic,” he says, adding, however, that he’s willing to speak to anyone “that would help me get them home.”

“I have no illusions about them. They have leverage [over Hamas]… Because [Qatar] funds them.”

Netanyahu says he got “very angry recently with the Americans” for renewing a deal to extend US military presence at a base in Qatar for another 10 years.

In addition to hosting Hamas leaders, Qatar also hosts the largest US base in the Middle East and is a major non-NATO US ally, a designation granted by the United States to close, non-NATO allies that have strategic working relationships with the US military.

Leveraging the deal “would apply pressure [on Qatar],” Netanyahu says in the recording.

He also says Qatar has given Israel commitments to ensure medications reach the hostages, as agreed in a celebrated but as-yet incomplete deal brokered by Doha and Paris last week to deliver much-needed medicines to the hostages, who have been held in captivity since the October 7 massacre.

The deal also included the provision of medical supplies, food and other humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the war-torn Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu previously admitted that the Qatari commitment to deliver medicine to hostages was the only way Israel had to verify their delivery,

“We’ll know in a few days, maybe before,” Netanyahu tells the families in the meeting.

Netanyahu’s military secretary, Brig. Gen. Avi Gil, tells the families Israel is “supposed to receive via the Qataris a kind of confirmation… that [the hostages] received the medications.”

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