Hamas has reacted in disbelief after the Saudi’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir termed it as being part of the extremist and terrorist groups supported by Qatar. A statement released by the Gaza-based group stated that remarks made by the Minister are “a shock to our Palestinian people and to our Arab and Islamic nation, which considers the Palestinian Cause its central cause.”
Jubeir said Hamas “undermines the Palestinian Authority” led by Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas who has been trying to pursue a non-violent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through talks. He dubbed Hamas as one of the “extremist” groups that Doha needs to cut ties with it in order for relations with its Gulf neighbors to be normalized.
Hamas stated that it felt “deep regret and disapproval” in this regard. Some of the group’s main leaders are based in Qatar as part of a prisoner-exchange deal between Hamas and Israel. Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, and the Jewish state enforces a crippling blockade on Gaza. Qatar has provided tens of millions of dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza since the last conflict with Israel in 2014.
Jan Egeland, Head of Norwegian Refugee Council, an advocate NGO for the promotion of the rights of people affected by displacement, noted that the economic embargo against Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its regional allies could force Doha to reduce its aid to Gaza.
“Qatar has been very important as an investor in Gaza and as a contributor to infrastructure progress there. It is my impression this may not easily continue,” he said.
Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas official, said Riyadh’s “regrettable” decision supports “American and Zionist calls to put Hamas on the terrorism list.”
Minister Jubeir said the decisions taken against Qatar are geared towards obliging the latter to “implement the promises it made a few years back” regarding its support to “extremist groups”. Cairo and Riyadh had criticized Qatar’s relations with the Muslim Brotherhood after it was ousted from power in Egypt in a military coup d’état.
Jubeir added that stopping the funding of extremist groups would “contribute to stability in the Middle East.”
Qatar has strongly denied allegations that it funds extremist and terror groups but Jubeir hopes that “common sense and logic will convince Qatar to take the right steps” before the consequences become heavy or heavier.