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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Global inaction allows Israel to act with impunity, former Qatari PM says


Israel’s raids on Gaza and attacks on Palestinians continue for the eighth consecutive night, rejecting calls for a ceasefire.

Qatar’s former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, known commonly as HBJ, says Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is responsible for the ongoing deadly attacks on Palestinians.

“Those who are bewildered over the violence between Palestine and Israel must return to its root causes, and they will discover that the Netanyahu government is the one behind it,” he told RT Arabic on Monday.

HBJ called out global inaction towards the violence, noting Israel has used this silence and impunity to continue carrying out human rights violations.

“Israel has acted the same way several times because there were no international nor Arab measures taken in response to its actions and saw silence instead,” he said.

Some statements of condemnation were made merely to “preserve the chairs of rulers and contain local outrage” he suggested..

“Israel knows that there is no Arab seriousness to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

Al Thani said there is an “Arab failure” towards the occupation of Palestinian and expected a coordinated Arab effort and support for Palestinians, as well as the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs at the United Nations [UN].

Responding to Israeli accusations against Hamas, Al Thani said that Israel is to blame.

“We do not blame Hamas or Iran for this crisis, but it was Israel that attempted to take new neighbourhoods, besieged Al Aqsa Mosque, and cut off lands, with an aim of not including them in any future solutions,” he said.

On the topic of normalisation, Al Thani said that he does not object to “establishing relations and understandings with Israel” as long as they are “based on the foundations of international resolutions, at least to solve this issue”.

Read also: Muslim world leaders denounce ‘brutal’ Israeli attacks as death toll mounts

“If normalisation is in the interest of the Palestinian cause, I welcome it. However, Arab understandings and normalisation have been far from the main issue, which is the Palestinian issue,” he said, adding that the King Abdullah initiative had constructed ways to deal with Israel.

“Perhaps at least we should discuss serious Arab-Israeli talks to put an end to this 70-year-old tragedy. At least we take into account what has been internationally-recognised not what Israel wants,” said Al Thani.

“What we hear of solutions and peace from Israel now comes with its terms and not what international resolutions or Arab states’ conditions.”

Commenting on the Arab League’s role, the Qatari official said it has been ineffective.

“The Arab League has no role. Even on the Iranian nuclear issue, we were supposed to take part but there is no Arab League that fulfils the aspirations of the Arab citizens and it has not had a role in any crisis in the region.”

He added that while the US administration plays a crucial part in the ongoing crisis, Arab countries play a more significant role in discussions.

“The US administration will look at the issue if there is someone who seriously demands his rights. The American administration needs someone to seriously engage with it…we must create a situation that makes an American work to solve the Arab issue in a just and serious manner, but the current Arab situation is not helpful to achieving this.”

Calls for ceasefire

Qatar has joined global calls to denounce Israel’s latest deadly attacks on Palestinians.

On Sunday, a meeting by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation [OIC], in which members of the committee, chaired by Saudi Arabia, discussed countless Israeli violations and violence against Palestinians.

The OIC meeting ended with an unanimous resolution to condemn in the strongest terms the barbaric attacks launched by Israel against the Palestinians, while demanding a complete and immediate halt of attacks that violate international laws and UN resolutions.

The resolution also urged international legal action through specialised international courts and various United Nations agencies to force Israel to to pay for the damage inflicted on Palestinian infrastructure as well as public and private properties.

Doha, Cairo and Riyadh’s foreign ministers also held discussions with with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the fatal Israeli offensive on Gaza.

However, there have been no signs of progress amid truce efforts by Qatar, Egypt and the UN, with Netanyahu continuing to carry out airstrikes on Gaza that Israel claims to be targeting Hamas. Hundreds of unarmed families and children have been killed instead.

“The directive is to continue striking at the terrorist targets. The IDF is doing this very well. Today it targeted a senior Islamic Jihad commander. We struck at the Hamas naval unit and are continuing to strike at underground targets – Hamas’s “metro” and there are other targets,” Netanyahu tweeted on Monday night.

Meanwhile, the White House announced that US President Joe Biden held a call with Netanyahu on Monday, expressing his support for a ceasefire as international pressure mounts.

“The President expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end,” the White House said, without mentioning the Israeli official’s response.

The statement added that Biden has “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians”, while reiterating his statement on Tel Aviv’s right to defend itself.

Following an eighth consecutive night into the deadly Gaza offensive, the first since 2014, official numbers confirm at least 212 Palestinians have been killed, including 61 children and 36 women.

Israel’s barbaric attacks have also targeted buildings containing media offices belonging to Al Jazeera and the Associated Press, as well as health and medical clinics.

The headquarters of Qatar Red Crescent Society [QRCS] in Gaza was destroyed due to Israeli airstrikes on Monday evening.

“Major destruction in our office as a result of Israeli warplanes targeting two floors of the same building, opposite to the ministry of health in the Ghazi Al Shawa building,” the director of QRCS in Gaza, Akram Nassar said, according to a tweet online.

The organisation confirmed the news on Twitter saying it was “exposed to shelling by the Israeli occupation forces today, Monday 17/5/2021 at 6pm, Jerusalem local time.”

Two Palestinians, including a child, were killed in the attack, while 10 others were injured.

In a statement by Doha’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MoFA], Qatar noted that “the targeting of humanitarian and media institutions is a clear violation of international law, against humanitarian norms and values.”

“Qatar calls on the international community to condemn this sinful act and to exert further efforts to put an end to Israeli’s continuous crimes in the occupied territories, and to protect civilians, journalists, medical practitioners, and humanitarian workers,” the statement added.

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