Qatari emir urges world to shun Israeli leaders

Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani accuses Jerusalem of war crimes, in ongoing diplomatic battle between countries

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, emir of the State of Qatar, addresses the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2014. (photo credit: UN Photo by Cia Pak)
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, emir of the State of Qatar, addresses the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2014. (photo credit: UN Photo by Cia Pak)

NEW YORK — The Qatari emir accused Israel of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during this summer’s 50-day war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani used his speech at the UN General Assembly Wednesday to urge world leaders not to receive Israeli leaders in their “diplomatic salons.”

The Qatari leader also called on the Security Council to pass a resolution forcing Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian lands according to a clear time table.

The emir’s speech was the latest in a war of words between the two countries that escalated during the fighting in Gaza this summer. In late August, Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor published a fiery criticism of Qatar, accusing the oil-rich Persian Gulf emirate of directly funding terror organizations, such as Hamas and al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria, in order to assert and amplify its global influence.

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Prosor urged international powers to work forcefully to halt Qatar’s ability to bankroll the terror groups, specifically Hamas.

“Today, the petite petroleum kingdom is determined to buy its way to regional hegemony, and like other actors in the Middle East, it has used proxies to leverage influence and destabilize rivals,” Prosor wrote.

“Every one of Hamas’s tunnels and rockets might as well have had a sign that read ‘Made possible through a kind donation from the emir of Qatar,’” he added.

Prosor also accused the Qatar-based news network Al-Jazeera, which is funded by the emirate’s ruling House of Thani, of spreading “radical messages that have inflamed sectarian divides” across the Middle East.

The Israeli ambassador suggested that “in light of the emirate’s unabashed support for terrorism,” FIFA should reevaluate its decision to name Qatar the host of soccer’s 2022 World Cup.

The week before, Germany’s Development Minister Gerd Mueller suggested that Qatar was financially supporting the Islamic State terror group, which has carved out a self-declared Islamic caliphate covering wide expanses of territory on both sides of the Syria-Iraq border.

In a television interview with public broadcaster ZDF, Mueller said it was important to examine who is financing the group, and that “the key word is Qatar.”

German officials, however, quickly tried to smooth over that allegation.

Qatar was one of the first Middle Eastern countries to condemn the recent beheading of American journalist James Foley, saying it was “a heinous crime that goes against all Islamic and humanitarian principles, as well as international laws and conventions.”

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