Qatar Plays Both Arsonist and Firefighter

While Iran may be Hamas’s main provider of weapons, training, and strategic cooperation, Qatar gives it funds, a base of operations, and diplomatic cover. But yesterday, Tsachi Hanegbi—the Israeli national-security advisor and a Likud-party veteran—took to social media to praise Qatar as an “essential . . . stakeholder in the facilitation of humanitarian solutions,” a reference, at least in part, to Doha’s role in the release of four of Hamas’s hostages, and its attempts to negotiate the freeing of others. Hanegbi was quickly lambasted by the former prime minister Naftali Bennett. Benny Avni explains why:

The wealthy gas-producing Gulf country has long played a dual game, financing Hamas in Gaza and hosting the terrorist group’s top leaders, while claiming a peacemaker role. Qatar’s arsonist-and-fireman play is now culminating as it becomes key negotiator over the release of more than 220 Israeli hostages Hamas holds in Gaza.

For years, some $30 million in monthly cash transfers from Qatar mostly covered Hamas officials’ salaries. Each time it ran out of cash, Hamas would fire at Israel. The Qatari envoy to Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi, would then drive to the Strip with suitcases filled with hundred-dollar bills. The bribes bought Israel calm—until the next rocket rounds.

That delicate dance ended with the horrific October 7 attack, which destroyed the Israeli illusion that Hamas’s genocidal goals, as explicitly expressed in its founding charter, could be moderated by Qatari development funds.

By only issuing . . . mild criticism of Qatar, Washington, [for its part], seems to be encouraging its diplomacy with regard to Hamas’s hostages. Yet, by releasing a small number of hostages at a time, Hamas is attempting to put a humanitarian gloss on its atrocities. More strategically, Qatar’s diplomacy is helping Hamas delay Israel’s long-promised Gaza invasion.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Qatar, U.S. Foreign policy

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7