Qatar believes Israel’s Rafah operation pushes peace talks backward, and a deadlock looms.


Israel’s military assault in Rafah has pushed truce talks with Hamas “backward,” mediator Qatar said on Tuesday, adding that talks are “almost at a stalemate.”

“We’ve seen some momentum building in recent weeks, but things haven’t moved in the right direction, and we’re currently at a near-stalemate,” Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told the Qatar Economic Forum.

“Of course, what happened with Rafah has set us backward.”


Qatar, which has hosted Hamas’ political office in Doha since 2012, has been involved in months of behind-the-scenes negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian militant group, with Egypt and the United States.


Israeli politicians indicated “with their words that they will remain there and continue the fight. “And it is unclear what Gaza will look like after this,” he continued.

On Monday, Israel continued to combat Hamas in Rafah, despite US warnings against launching a full-scale assault on the south Gaza city, which is filled with displaced Palestinians.

A senior US official told AFP that negotiations were “at a simmer, they are at a low boil,” but that talks with the parties were ongoing.

‘Hamas’s decision’-

According to the official, if Hamas agrees to Israel’s plan, talks would resume. However, moving closer to Israel’s position may slow down operations in Rafah.

Hamas must be “humble enough to have a serious conversation about negotiations, or not, because there’s a real concern that once the conflict is very active and kinetic again that then it will be tough for Hamas leadership to come back seriously to negotiations,” said the official.

At a separate news conference, Qatar’s foreign ministry official stated that humanitarian aid has been unable to access Gaza since May 9.

“Our brothers in the Gaza Strip have not received any aid since May 9, and this is an indication of the continued perpetuation of the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip,” said Majed al-Ansari.

When asked if Doha was rethinking hosting Hamas’ senior officials in Doha, the Qatari prime minister responded that “as long as the war is ongoing and there is a need for communication,” the eviction of Hamas was not being considered.


According to a senior US official, there is still hope that Qatar, acting as a mediator, may resolve the situation.

“However, I think it’s been made clear that if there is no deal to be made, there is no future option for success in these negotiations then the hosting of Hamas will have to change,” said the official.

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