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Qatar: Israel-Arab deals harm Palestinians

Qatar believes that Arab states who establish ties with Israel undermine efforts for Palestinian statehood, but acknowledged that it is their own sovereign right to do so.

“I think it’s better to have a united (Arab) front to put the interests of the Palestinians (first) to end the (Israeli) occupation,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told the online Global Security Forum.

Doha’s top diplomat said division is not in the interest of concerted Arab efforts to get the Israelis to negotiate with the Palestinians to resolve the decades-long conflict between the sides.

However, for states that proceed in formalizing ties, he said, “it is up to them at the end of the day to decide what is best for their countries.”

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan normalized relations with Israel in recent months in deals brokered by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Both Jerusalem and Washington have gone on the record saying that additional Arab states could soon follow.

The peace deals broke with decades of Arab policy that had preconditioned any negotiations on Israel’s first ceding land for a Palestinian state.

Palestinian leaders have accused the three Arab countries of betrayal. They were also infuriated when the 22-member Arab League rejected Ramallah’s call to condemn the regional peace deals with the Jewish State.

Qatari Foreign Minister Al-Thani also reiterated his nation’s support of a Two State solution to the conflict with Israel, with East Jerusalem to serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Leaders in the UAE say the remain committed to the Palestinians’ quest for statehood, and insist that the Gulf state’s deal stopped Jerusalem’s plan to annex land wanted by Ramallah.

Qatar is aligned with several of Israel’s worst enemies – the Islamist Palestinian terror group Hamas,  the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran’s proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have maintained an economic boycott against Qatar since 2017 over its close ties with Iran and allegations that it is a major sponsor of terrorism – including financial support of Hezbollah.