Israel, Saudis, UAE Lobby Congress for Anti-Qatar Legislation

House Bill Threatens Broad Sanctions Against Qatar for Hamas Support

While Israel has been unable to directly join the Saudi-led move to “blockade” Qatar, having very limited contact with them in the first place, that hasn’t stopped them from throwing their substantial lobbying support behind a move already backed by Saudi and Emirati lobbyists to see the US Congress pass anti-Qatar legislation.

Qatari Foreign Minister Al-Thani

The HR 2712 bill, the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2017, faults Qatar for its support for the Hamas Movement, The bill’s sponsors in the House include a number of lawmakers who have received substantial donations from pro-Israel lobbyists, and donations from pro-Saudi lobbyists as well.

This is part of an ongoing allegation that Qatar’s charitable contributions are going to terrorist movements.  Qatar denies that this is the case, saying that the government has been very successful in ensuring that the charities they support actually do charitable work, and don’t simply end up laundering the money to terrorist movements.

Moveover, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin-Abdulrahman al-Thani pointed out that Hamas itself has long been considered a “legitimate resistance group” across the Arab world. He insisted Qatar’s position is not directly to support Hamas as such, but to support the Palestinian people in general.

Hamas has offices in Qatar, but that’s not unusual, as Qatar has served as a willing host for such offices for the sake of back-channel diplomacy for years. Qatari officials noted that they also hosted a Taliban office, and did so explicitly at the request of the United States during a failed effort to start a peace process in Afghanistan.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.