Qatar emir slams ‘shameful’ inaction on Gaza crisis

Published December 6, 2023
A handout picture provided by the UAE Presidential Court shows United Arab Emirates’ President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L) being welcomed by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani during a GCC meeting, in Doha, on Dec 5, 2023. — via AFP
A handout picture provided by the UAE Presidential Court shows United Arab Emirates’ President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L) being welcomed by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani during a GCC meeting, in Doha, on Dec 5, 2023. — via AFP

DOHA: Qatar’s ruler hit out at “shameful” international inaction over the Israeli aggression against Gazans as he opened a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting in Doha on Tuesday.

“It is shameful for the international community to allow this heinous crime to continue for nearly two months, during which the systematic and deliberate killing of innocent civilians continues, including women and children,” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said.

Qatar was a key mediator in negotiations that resulted in a seven-day truce, which saw scores of Israeli prisoners exchanged for Palestinians prisoners and humanitarian aid, until it ended on Friday.

Its foreign ministry said that GCC summit was aimed at forming a united approach to end the aggression in Gaza.

GCC expresses ‘deep concern’ over blatant Israeli aggression

“Now the ceiling should be raised to talk about a sustainable truce” that could lead to ending this unrest, Majed Al-Ansari, spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry, told Al Jazeera.

Qatar’s ruler said his country was “constantly working to renew” the truce, but added this was “not an alternative to a permanent ceasefire”.

He called for “an international investigation into the massacres committed by Israel” and for the Security Council “to assume its legal responsibility and act to end this barbaric war [on Gaza], and compel Israel to return to credible negotiations to achieve a just solution to the Palestinian issue”.

‘Blatant aggression’

Some members of the GCC have moved towards closer ties with Israel in recent years.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain normalised ties with Israel in 2020, and Saudi Arabia was seen as close to following suit.

But the unrest has put a halt to these diplomatic efforts.

In a joint statement, the GCC expressed “deep concern” with what it called “blatant Israeli aggression” in Gaza.

The council praised the efforts of Qatar, Egypt and the United States in negotiating the humanitarian pause, urging a fresh truce “immediately” to “achieve a complete and sustainable ceasefire”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the session and accused Israel of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity in Gaza”, which he said “should not be left unanswered”.

Both Turkiye and Qatar have been vocal supporters of the Palestinian cause and have opened channels of communication with Hamas.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2023

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