March 18, 2024 MEMRI Daily Brief No. 581

Port Of Hope – Part II: The Peaceful Future Of The Israel-Palestinian Conflict Depends On Ousting Qatar From Any Involvement In It

March 18, 2024 | By Yigal Carmon*
Qatar, Palestinians | MEMRI Daily Brief No. 581

Involving Qatar in the project to build a temporary port off the Gaza coast is criminal. It will become the Port of Hamas.

The battle over the future of Gaza and, in fact, ending the war with a total defeat of Hamas and a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict depends on one critical factor.

If Qatar, the state sponsor of Islamist terrorism worldwide, is allowed any role in it, the war will never end. The first to realize this are the Gaza clans, who are beginning to cooperate with the Palestinian Authority for the sake of food and other aid.

Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniya with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Aal Thani (Source:

Recently, trucks carrying aid entered northern Gaza from Israel. Al-Jazeera, Qatar's Hamas mouthpiece, declined to report their origin. But there was no hiding the signs on the trucks, which were in Hebrew. This battle over the Gaza coast "port of hope" will become more critical when its first pier is completed in the coming days and aid begins to flow in.

The Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab mosque in Doha (Source:, August 4, 2022).

It has already been reported that UN officials are collaborating with the so-called Hamas police to handle the distribution of humanitarian aid, and that the Egyptians are talking to clans in Gaza to get them involved in this as well. If true, this is no less than outrageous. Neither Hamas nor Egypt should be allowed to come close to any distribution of aid. It is also crucial that once the port project is operational, the southern border crossings into Gaza from Egypt will be permanently shut down, since they are controlled by Hamas via Qatar. The retired Egyptian officers who administer these crossings care only about the bribes they receive from Qatar to close their eyes and allow anything to enter.

It is absolutely crucial to exclude Qatar from having any role in this new process, either in funding or in distribution. Otherwise, the port will become the Port of Hamas. The distribution must be facilitated by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and, eventually, Jordan.

In this no less than historic and fateful moment, change can happen, with the help of the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the PA, towards a peaceful resolution. At the same time, it can turn into a disaster and an escalation of the war. According to yet-unverified Arab sources, the U.S. is actually facilitating the takeover of the port project by Hamas, through Qatar. According to these sources, it has asked Qatar to take upon itself the funding and administration of the port – and via this, also the distribution of the aid and the control of the population – and has agreed to Qatar's condition that the Al-Khisi construction company, with extensive ties to Hamas, build the port. These highly doubtful reports must be verified – but if they are true, it amounts to no less than a betrayal of Israel by the U.S. administration in favor of a victory to Hamas and Qatar. Not just that, but it will become a betrayal of the U.S. by itself. However, Israel, whether led by Netanyahu or his replacement, will not accept this defeat and loss to Hamas, and the result will only be further conflagration, just before November.

If the above is true, this U.S. policy is mindboggling and politically inexplicable. If President Biden involves Qatar in the port project, he will, instead of scoring a clearcut victory in advance of the November 2024 presidential election, have caused the war to intensify.

In its insistence on considering Qatar an ally – in the face of all the facts – the U.S. administration is oblivious to the global scene and to its own defense interests, since Qatar is part of the Iran-Russia-China bloc that seeks to replace the U.S.-led unipolar world with a multipolar world controlled by Russia and China. In this context, failure to defeat Hamas will be a major victory for this bloc, and will mark the beginning of these major powers' efforts to oust the U.S. from all its bases in the Middle East and Asia. Such a process has already begun elsewhere, with Niger's shutdown of the U.S.'s Air Base 201 on its soil.

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds talks with Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Aal-Thani, emir of Qatar, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, January 31, 2019. Prior to the talks, Xi held a welcome ceremony for Tamim at the Great Hall of the People. (Xinhua/Li Tao, January 31, 2019)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (front right) shakes hands with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Aal Thani at the Kremlin (Source: Rferl, March 27, 2018)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (left) welcoming Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani (right) at the presidential palace in Tehran, Iran, May 12, 2022. (Credit Image: ©️ Iranian Presidency via ZUMA Press Wire)

The new American narrative against the continuation of the Israel-Hamas war – that the war damages American interests – is self-defeating. The truth is the complete opposite. Only winning the war will guarantee America's standing in the region and worldwide, as noted above. If America has a problem with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, it should resolve it on the personal level but not at the expense of the war, which the U.S. should support for the sake of its own interests.

The war must end with a victory over America's enemies – Hamas as well as Hizbullah and the Houthis, who have been inspired by Hamas's successful October 7 attack – and with a victory over the Qatar, Iran, Russia, and China bloc. This must happen either with or without Netanyahu.

If the U.S.'s reason for ending the war is Netanyahu's objection to a two-state solution, then the U.S. administration should remember that ending the war with a still-viable Hamas will not lead to said two-state solution because Hamas objects to it no less than Netanyahu.

Winning the war is as essential for the two-state solution as it is for America's standing in the world. U.S. National Intelligence Director Avril Haines raised the argument that the war will "have a generational impact on terrorism." This would be true if the war is stopped in a way that constitutes a victory for Hamas. But if it ends in Hamas's defeat, the effect will be the opposite. Aspiring terrorists will learn that they will have no achievements like the October 7 attack. Those who say an ideology cannot be defeated are totally wrong: Nazism was defeated, as were Fascism and Communism. ISIS and Al-Qaeda are defeated for all practical purposes. The war must be won on the military and strategic levels alone.

Port of Hope – Under What Conditions?

My March 11 piece Port Of Hope In Gaza: The Beginning Of The End Of The War sparked significant debate. Many criticized it, saying that the port would end up as a port for Hamas. Therefore, I will further clarify why and under what conditions this idea should be supported as a port of hope.

What can make it a port of hope and the beginning of the end of war is that, in addition to supplying vital humanitarian aid to the population, Qatar – Israel's enemy, the enemy of peace, and the state sponsor of terrorism worldwide, and the provider of all the support to Hamas in the south via the aid trucks – will be totally stripped of any ability to control the population with its money.

The second condition for this port to become the "Port of Hope" is a complete closure of the southern border crossings from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, because Qatar and Hamas are using them as a means of controlling the Gaza population. All humanitarian aid should flow in from the north via the port, and all aid can be brought to this port.

Ousting Qatar from the process will constitute a total reversal in the war. Hamas's power over the population will dwindle down. This reversal will pressure Hamas to use the hostages as bargaining chips for further deals, which it does not feel a need to do at this time because it feels strong enough to reject any deal unless it includes a total ceasefire and an Israeli withdrawal – and even then it is saying that the hostages will not be released immediately.

What Connects Biden And Netanyahu Is Far More Than Their Political Differences – And That Is Qatar

The U.S. administration's policy is mindboggling.

The risk is there: It could be a port of hope or a port of disaster. It all depends on whether Qatar is involved or not. The danger emanates from two directions.

One is from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's years-long collaboration with Qatar and, through it, his facilitation of the flow of billions of dollars from Qatar to Hamas-ruled Gaza.

The other is from the American administration's collaboration with Qatar as an ally, while in reality Qatar is an enemy of the U.S.[1]

Netanyahu did not even respond to the blatant attacks by Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Dr. Majed Al-Ansari, who praised Hamas's missile attacks on Israeli cities. In fact, Netanyahu rarely mentions Qatar – only Iran.

Secondly, Israel does not react to the constant calls in Qatari media – which are all state controlled, in one way or another – for attacks on Israel like October 7. These media also regularly turn on the U.S. A comprehensive study of the work of Qatar's Hamas mouthpiece Al-Jazeera can be read here: Al-Jazeera Arabic: The Qatari-Owned TV Channel That Promotes Islamist Terrorism Worldwide.

Netanyahu blocked the closing of Al-Jazeera offices in Israel, which compromises Israel's military in gaza.

According to a report posted on X on March 13, Israeli soldiers on leave who had been sent on a dangerous mission of searching suspicious homes in the luxurious Qatar-funded Hamad neighborhood in Khan Yunis, at great risk to their lives, instead of the homes being bombed, were told when they asked why that this was because of Israel-Qatar relations.

The report posted on X, March 13, 2024

What relations are these? Netanyahu is risking the lives of his soldiers for Qatar. Some apologists for Netanyahu claim that this was because of intelligence indications of hostages possibly present in that neighborhood. This is a lie; soldiers elsewhere in Gaza are regularly given air cover to protect them – only in the case of the Qatari neighborhood were they deprived of it.

Similarly, an Israeli brigade commander who set up his headquarters in Qatar's main building in Gaza was ordered to evacuate it, even though it was militarily essential.

Netanyahu's facilitation over a decade of the flow of billions in Qatari funds to Hamas, which were used to build the latter's military empire. This collaboration, which went on until October 7, has turned him into a hostage of and collaborator with Qatar. Qatar's billions may have been aimed at "buying tranquility," but they actually paved the path for war. The prime minister's suspicious relationship with Qatar was raised in the Knesset on March 13 by Labor MK Gilad Kariv.

As for the U.S., it continues to consider Qatar an ally, while Qatar acts like an enemy. The U.S. is even conducting a strategic dialogue with Qatar – the second most dangerous sponsor of terrorism after Iran.

The U.S. Continues To Treat Qatar As An Ally – Despite A Litany Of Qatari Anti-U.S. Policies

Below are further examples of Qatar's anti-U.S. activity:

In the fog of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan – which was sponsored and facilitated by Qatar – 13 Americans were killed by ISIS. After all this, Doha allows the Taliban and Iran to attend the Defense Exhibition of Weapons (DEMDEX) this month in Qatar.

Hamas spokesman Husam Badran said in an interview with an Afghani outlet, when asked about the difference between the Palestinians' and Afghans' jihad: "There is no difference in the reality of the nations."

President Biden, who knows all too well what happened in Kabul during the U.S. evacuation in August 2021, should likewise know that for Israel, Gaza will not be like Afghanistan. The only similarity between the Taliban and Hamas is that in both cases Qatar is getting away with the murder of Americans.

Those who argue that the CENTCOM presence in Al-Udeid Airbase in Qatar means that Qatar should be considered an ally do not understand that U.S. pressure on Qatar to stop its anti-U.S. activity will have no impact on CENTCOM activity. Qatar needs CENTCOM more than the U.S. needs Qatar. This base is the sole guarantor of the survival of Qatar's ruling Aal Thani family; they owe America their very existence. In 2017, America's true allies in the region – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain – tried to end the family's rule; the U.S. saved the Aal Thani terrorist-sponsoring family. What did America get in return? Qatar helped topple the pro-U.S. government in Afghanistan and replace it with Taliban terrorists.

To sum up the American alliance with Qatar: Imagine the rehabilitation of post-World War II Germany and the Marshall Plan being implemented with the remnants of the Nazi Party. How would that work out? Involving Qatar in the humanitarian aid port project and the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would mean the same.

* Yigal Carmon is President and Founder of MEMRI.


[1] Proving this point is the Iftar party held by the Emir of Qatar last year in Doha at which all the enemies of the U.S. were honored, including Hamas, Iran, and many others. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No 10576, Hamas Hosts Festive Iftar Dinner For Diplomats In Qatari Capital; Guests Include Ambassadors Of Iran, Taliban, Turkey, Russia, April 25, 2023.

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