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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Qatar slams Israeli mishandling of Palestinian children

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The comments made by the Qatari diplomat further echo Doha’s strong condemnation of the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.

Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah Al Khater took to social media to express her disappointment in the ongoing human rights violations by the occupying Israeli forces.

Al Khater commented on a video released by Israeli rights organisation B’Tselem last week, in which IDF soldiers are seen violently arresting Palestinian children for picking flowers in the occupied West Bank.

The five children, aged 8-to-13, were gathering the wild Akoub plant before they were confronted by mask-clad settlers who quickly carried out the arrests. The soldiers claimed the minors “infiltrated into a house’s private property”.

“Not very surprised by how Israeli Occupation is treating kids! They know that the duplicity of their international sponsors will let them get away, yet Again,” tweeted Al Khater on Saturday.

Qatar’s condemnation

Al Khater’s comments echo previous and repeated statements by Qatar denouncing human rights violations conducted by Israel.

The comments also contradict recent claims that suggest Qatar could be next in line to normalise with Israel.

Last week, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said Qatar is among the three Arab states expected to normalise its ties with Tel Aviv “soon”. The Israeli official said Saudi Arabia, Oman and Niger were also set to formalise ties with the occupying state.

Read also: Qatar’s FM rules out normalisation with Israel despite GCC reconciliation

“Less than a month ago, I returned from a historic visit to Sudan, and the week before, I was in Egypt, where I participated in an economic security meeting,” Cohen told the newspaper, adding that Niger’s latest elected candidate’s support to the US will increase its normalisation chances.

In the same week former White House Adviser and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal [WSJ] saying Qatar will be normalising with Tel Aviv.

Repeated normalisation claims

Normalisation claims have resurfaced repeatedly since the signing of the Abraham Accords by Bahrain and the UAE in September, and have intensified since the GCC reconciliation in January.

However, the Gulf state has repeatedly reiterated its position on the Palestinian case and has vehemently refused to normalise with Israel until it ends its illegal occupation.

The Abraham Accords is a sovereign decision that Qatar will not interfere in, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani previously said.

Doha has also emphasised its unchanged commitment to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative,  adopted by the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC], which stipulates that member states shall refrain from normalising with Israel until it fully withdraws from lands occupied in 1967.

Speaking to Doha News, experts believe the constant resurfacing of the rumours, despite Qatar’s rejection, could be a calculated strategy.

“If Doha wants to normalise, I think it would not hide it. We already know that there is communication between Doha and Israel for Gaza’s interest,” Dr. Mahjoub Zweiri, director of Gulf Studies at Qatar University told Doha News.

More recently, the Gulf state greeted the International Criminal Court’s [ICC] decision to include occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza and the West Bank, within the jurisdiction of the court.

“I think the context is obvious that this is the election campaign and Netanyahu is trying to play all his cards so he can come back as the prime minister in Israel,” added Dr. Zweiri.

This was echoed by UAE officials who recently shelved a visit by the Israeli PM to the Emirates to avoid “exploiting” the Abraham Accords for his election campaign.

“From the UAE’s perspective, the purpose of the Abrahamic Accords is to provide a robust strategic foundation to foster peace and prosperity with the State of Israel and in the wider region. The UAE will not be a part in any internal electioneering in Israel, now or ever,” said former UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash in a tweet.

Jordan has also refused to allow Netanyahu to fly over its airspace to the UAE, another move that led to the postponement of his visit.

 


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