Qatari Diplomat: Israel, Hamas Holding Indirect Talks on Gaza

By Sephardic News Jul 02, 2018 11:24 AM

(Israel Hayom via JNS) Israel and Hamas have been holding indirect negotiations to end ‎the crisis in the Gaza Strip, a Qatari diplomat told Chinese news ‎agency Xinhua on Sunday.‎

‎“The U.S. administration knows about the talks,” said the head of Qatar’s ‎Gaza Reconstruction Committee Mohammed al-Emadi. ‎

Al-Emadi, who is currently visiting the coastal enclave, said no deal ‎has been reached at this time, but negotiations were still ongoing to ‎reach a comprehensive agreement that will improve the situation in Gaza, ‎which is facing a humanitarian crisis. ‎

Gaza has been under a tight Israeli and Egyptian blockade since ‎‎2007, when the Islamic terrorist group seized control of the enclave ‎in a military coup. The measure has proved necessary to ‎prevent the smuggling of weapons and terrorists into the area.‎

According to the report, the Qatari envoy said the United States has recently ‎proposed several projects for Gaza to provide basic ‎services such as electricity, desalination of drinking water and the ‎rehabilitation of the industrial zone in Gaza, where unemployment ‎nears 50 percent.‎

Al-Emadi said the projects were presented by U.S. President ‎Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner during his ‎visit to the region last week, which included stops in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, ‎Egypt, Jordan and Israel.‎

‎“We demanded lifting the blockade on Gaza, which has suffered ‎three wars,” he told Xinhua. “We highlighted to the Americans and ‎Israelis the need to achieve this, and we are working on this ‎issue, but so far we have not reached any results.”‎

The American efforts to restart the moribund regional peace process have ‎so far been snubbed by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, ‎who claims that, given Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as ‎the Israeli capital, it can no longer serve as an unbiased mediator in ‎the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.‎

Abbas refused to meet with Kushner and U.S. Special ‎Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt ‎during their Middle East tour, and has accused the United States of planning ‎to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank so as to undermine ‎the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.‎

Al-Emadi said any solutions for the crisis in Gaza would require the ‎cooperation of the P.A.‎

‎“We will not interfere without the consent and the presence of the ‎Palestinian Authority,” he stressed.‎

He also affirmed that Qatar will not interfere in the U.S. Mideast ‎peace plan, saying that Doha will back any decision made by the ‎P.A. in this regard.‎

Speaking about the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation between rival ‎Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, al-Emadi said “Qatar will ‎support any plans or agreement that will help end the sufferings of ‎the Palestinians in Gaza.”‎

During his current visit to Gaza, he announced the ‎distribution of a grant of $2.5 million to Gaza universities in addition ‎to his country’s donation of the same value as medical supplies to ‎hospitals.‎

“We are looking for a permanent solution to the problems of Gaza ‎and we want to prevent any new war against the enclave,” he said. ‎

The Qatari diplomat said he was told by Hamas and Israel ‎‎that ‎neither was interested in a new war, ‎“but we have agreed ‎with ‎Hamas and Israel that in the event of a ‎war, our projects will ‎not be ‎targeted unless they were used by ‎Hamas.”

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars over the past ‎decades, and the terrorist group ruling the enclave has been ‎repeatedly excoriated for using civilian infrastructure, including U.N. facilities, as ‎cover for ‎its operatives and as hideouts for its extensive arsenal.‎

‎ ‎ In 2012, Qatar launched a $407 million Gaza aid package focused on housing, health and infrastructure. Doha has also pledged to donate $1 billion ‎during the international donor conference held in 2014 in Egypt for ‎the reconstruction of the war-torn enclave.‎