Netanyahu reportedly rebuffed after seeking meet with Qatari foreign minister
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Netanyahu reportedly rebuffed after seeking meet with Qatari foreign minister

Prime minister tried to arrange summit at US-led Warsaw conference in February, was told timing not right, according to Israeli TV report

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Doha, Qatar, January 13, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Doha, Qatar, January 13, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly sought a meeting earlier this year with Qatar’s foreign minister, but the Gulf emirate turned down the request.

Netanyahu aimed to meet Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani in February at a US-led conference in Poland on the Middle East, according to a Monday report by the Kan public broadcaster.

Israeli officials reportedly reached out to an unidentified third party on the eve of the Warsaw meeting to gauge whether a confab with the Qatari minister was possible, but the Qataris said the timing was not right.

The broadcaster said the Prime Minister’s Office denied the report, without elaborating.

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, US Vice President Mike Pence, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pose for a family photo at the conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, on February 13, 2019. (Janek SKARZYNSKI/AFP)

Israel has no diplomatic ties with Qatar but opened a trade office in its capital of Doha in 1996, which was shuttered in 2000.

Israel also previously had a trade office in Oman, whose foreign minister Netanyahu met with in Warsaw, months after he visited the country.

Last year, the Walla news site reported al-Thani met with Israel’s then defense minister Avigdor Liberman in Cyprus as part of efforts to broker a long-term ceasefire with the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group.

Over the past year, Israel has allowed Qatar to deliver to Gaza regular infusions of cash amounting to millions of dollars to help stabilize the Strip and prevent a humanitarian collapse and further violence.

A Palestinian man displays a 100 dollar bill, part of $480 million in aid allocated by Qatar, in Gaza City on May 13, 2019. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations have recently played key roles in brokering informal ceasefires between Israel and Gaza, which have largely entailed Hamas and other terror groups cutting back violence in exchange for the Jewish state lessening some of the restrictions it has imposed on the coastal enclave. Both Israel and Egypt enforce a number of restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza. Israel says the blockade is necessary to keep Hamas and other terror groups in the Strip from arming or building military infrastructure.

Hamas, however, has frequently accused Israel of dragging its feet in implementing the informal agreements.

Analysts say that Hamas, which seeks Israel’s destruction, is desperately trying to prevent another round of hostilities with Israel in light of the Qatari money flowing into the Strip along with new reported plans to rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure.

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