Qatar calls Hoyer's criticism of its mediation efforts in Gaza 'not constructive'

Qatar called Rep. Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) criticism of the country’s mediation efforts in the Israel-Hamas war “not constructive” and rebuked the lawmaker for “threatening” to “reevaluate” the U.S. relationship with Doha. 

Hoyer stated on Monday that Qatar should signal to Hamas that “repercussions” will ensue if the militant Palestinian group stalls “progress” toward releasing the hostages held in Gaza and getting to a temporary cease-fire. 

“Qatar needs to make it clear to Hamas that there will be repercussions if it continues to block progress toward releasing the hostages and establishing a temporary ceasefire,” Hoyer said in a statement released Monday. “Consequences ought to include cutting off funding to Hamas or refusing to grant Hamas’ leaders refuge in Doha. If Qatar fails to apply this pressure, the United States must reevaluate its relationship with Qatar.” 

Qatar and Egypt are involved in negotiations for establishing a cease-fire in Gaza. 

The Qatari Embassy in the U.S. rebuked the senior Democratic lawmaker’s statement. 

“We share his frustration that Hamas and Israel have not reached an agreement on the release of the remaining hostages,” Qatar’s Embassy said in a statement released Tuesday. 

“But blaming and threatening the mediator is not constructive, especially when the target is a friend and Major Non-NATO Ally that presently hosts 10,000 US troops and America’s largest military presence in the Middle East.”

Qatar said they do not “control” Israel or Hamas and that both parties are “entirely responsible” for getting to an agreement. They also shot back at the Maryland lawmaker’s proposal that Hamas should not be able to have refuge in Qatar. 

“It is certainly tempting to do as he suggests and walk away from seemingly intransigent parties,” the embassy said. “After all, neither of the warring parties does anything for Qatar. But it is useful to remember that Qatar’s mediation role exists only because we were asked by the U.S. in 2012 to play this role since, regrettably, Israel and Hamas refuse to speak to each other directly.” 

Around 129 hostages are held in Gaza. Hamas took more than 250 hostages when it attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 in the southern part of the country. Hamas’s terrorist attack sparked Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, which has left more than 33,000 Palestinians dead.

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