‘Qatar does not pay Hamas’: Doha hits back at GOP lawmaker’s claim

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani looks on during a meeting with the US Secretary of State at Lusail Palace, in Doha on February 6, 2024, during his Middle East tour, his fifth urgent trip to the region since the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza erupted in October. (Photo by Mark Schiefelbein / POOL / AFP)
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani looks on during a meeting with the US Secretary of State at Lusail Palace, in Doha on February 6, 2024, during his Middle East tour, his fifth urgent trip to the region since the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza erupted in October. (Photo by Mark Schiefelbein / POOL / AFP)

Qatar’s Embassy in Washington hits back at US House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. James Comer who issued a statement earlier today asserting that Doha has paid the Hamas terror group $30 million per month since 2018.

“Qatar does not pay Hamas,” the embassy says in a tweet. “In full coordination with the Government of Israel, Qatar has contributed humanitarian assistance in Gaza since 2018.”

It points to two forms of assistance — “fuel purchases from Israel to supply a Gaza power station to generate electricity in Gaza, under the supervision of the United Nations Office of Project Services. The Israeli Government controlled all fuel transfers at the Gaza border.”

The second form has been payments since 2021 administered by the World Food Program providing $100 million per month to poor families in Gaza in stipends overseen by Israel.

The Qatari aid was sought and appreciated by Israel in the decade leading up to Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught, documents obtained by The Times of Israel last month showed.

“The United States also supported Qatar’s humanitarian contributions. In 2018, President Trump’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, endorsed the Israel-Qatar agreement to channel aid to Gaza. He said, ‘Qatar partnering with Israel can bring real relief to the people of Gaza,'” the Qatari embassy notes.

The tweet goes on to highlight Qatar’s ongoing efforts in mediating Gaza truces through hostage releases.

“There is more work to be done, and urgently. Misinformation about Qatar and its humanitarian contributions is unhelpful to these delicate negotiations,” the Qatari embassy adds.

Israel has become increasingly critical of Qatar in the four months since the last hostage deal, arguing that Doha has failed to sufficiently pressure Hamas, whose leaders it hosts at Washington’s behest.

A confidential report by a team of veteran US and Israeli intelligence professionals working on behalf of lawyers for the families of October 7 victims contends that Qatar should not be allowed to continue to serve as a key mediator, claiming that Doha is a fundamentally disingenuous actor.

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