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Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said before an online conference on Monday that efforts by Arab states to normalize ties with Israel undermines the efforts of the Palestinians to attain statehood, Reuters reports.
The foreign minister made the comments before the online Global Security Forum, an annual conference hosted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington, DC.
“I think it’s better to have a united [Arab] front to put the interests of the Palestinians [first] to end the [Israeli] occupation,” the foreign minister argued. He further stated, however, that "it is up to them at the end of the day to decide what is best for their countries."
The foreign minister's comments come in the wake of three Arab states, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan, announcing the normalization of relations with the Jewish state. UAE and Bahrain signed a peace agreement with Israel in September as part of the Abraham Accords with the support of US President Donald Trump. Sudan announced their intent to normalize relations with Israel in October due to diplomatic pressure from the United States.
Prior to the Abraham Accords, Israel had diplomatic ties with only two Arab states. Israel signed a peace agreement with Egypt in 1979 following the Camp David Accords hosted by former President Jimmy Carter. Israel later signed a second peace agreement with Jordan in 1994 with the support of former President Bill Clinton.
Qatar was the first Persian Gulf state to establish formal trade relations with Israel, although these relations were severed in 2009 following Operation Cast Lead, an Israeli anti-terrorism operation in the Gaza Strip. The two states maintain limited ties with Israelis often participating in Qatari sporting events.
Qatar has provided diplomatic and financial support to Hamas since 2007 when the organization wrestled control of the Gaza Strip away from the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is a designated terrorist organization which regularly lobs rockets at Israeli population centres and called for genocide against Jewish people in their founding document.
Qatar also maintains friendly diplomatic relations with Iran, another nation hostile to the State of Israel. Relations between the two nations have improved since 2017, when Qatar faced souring relations with the surrounding Arab states of United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, geopolitical foes of the Iranian regime.
Despite the tenseness of relations in recent years, some Israeli officials believe that the Qatari government may still take interest in establishing ties with their country.