Qatar Is One of Gaza’s Problems. The U.S. Must Stop Treating It Like Part of the Solution

Another important question raised at Tuesday’s hearings by the California congresswoman Michelle Steel regarded the effects of Qatar’s massive contributions to American universities. The peninsular emirate also hosts and funds Hamas, along with the anti-Semitic and anti-American propaganda outlet Al Jazeera—despite having the coveted status of major non-NATO ally. While U.S. officials have thanked Doha for its role in negotiating the release of some of the hostages abducted on October 7, Jonathan Schanzer notes that they should instead be pressuring Qatar to force Hamas to release the rest:

These American statements are cringe-inducing: . . . when America thanks Qatar for its assistance, it’s a bit like thanking the thug who punched you in eye for bringing you an ice pack. But it’s worse than that. In their efforts to steer the Gaza conflict toward a permanent ceasefire, the Qataris have actively tried to help save Hamas from destruction, which is Israel’s stated war aim.

In addition to Hamas, the terrorists running around in Qatar include al-Qaeda, Islamic State, the Taliban, and others. Famously, the Qataris sheltered the 9/11 mastermind Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, and likely alerted him to the fact that American forces were closing on him, enabling his escape. Despite this track record, the United States has continued to work with the Qataris as partners. . . . As the former Israeli national security advisor Eyal Hulata recently revealed, the Qataris have sent funds surreptitiously to Hamas fighters.

The mask has fallen. The Qataris are terror sponsors, not stewards of Gaza.

Read more at Commentary

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

What Israel Can Achieve in Gaza, the Fate of the Hostages, and Planning for the Day After

In a comprehensive analysis, Azar Gat concludes that Israel’s prosecution of the war has so far been successful, and preferable to the alternatives proposed by some knowledgeable critics. (For a different view, see this article by Lazar Berman.) But even if the IDF is coming closer to destroying Hamas, is it any closer to freeing the remaining hostages? Gat writes:

Hamas’s basic demand in return for the release of all the hostages—made clear well before it was declared publicly—is an end to the war and not a ceasefire. This includes the withdrawal of the IDF from the Gaza Strip, restoration of Hamas’s control over it (including international guarantees), and a prisoner exchange on the basis of “all for all.”

Some will say that there must be a middle ground between Hamas’s demands and what Israel can accept. However, Hamas’s main interest is to ensure its survival and continued rule, and it will not let go of its key bargaining chip. Some say that without the return of the hostages—“at any price”—no victory is possible. While this sentiment is understandable, the alternative would be a resounding national defeat. The utmost efforts must be made to rescue as many hostages as possible, and Israel should be ready to pay a heavy price for this goal; but Israel’s capitulation is not an option.

Beyond the great cost in human life that Israel will pay over time for such a deal, Hamas will return to rule the Gaza Strip, repairing its infrastructure of tunnels and rockets, filling its ranks with new recruits, and restoring its defensive and offensive arrays. This poses a critical question for those suggesting that it will be possible to restart the war at a later stage: have they fully considered the human toll should the IDF attempt to reoccupy the areas it would have vacated in the Gaza Strip?

Although Gat is sanguine about the prospects of the current campaign, he throws some cold water on those who hope for an absolute victory:

Militarily, it is possible to destroy Hamas’s command, military units, and infrastructure as a semi-regular military organization. . . . After their destruction in high-intensity fighting, the IDF must prevent Hamas from reviving by continuous action on the ground. As in the West Bank, this project will take years. . . . What the IDF is unlikely to achieve is the elimination of Hamas as a guerrilla force.

Lastly, Gat has some wise words about what will happen to Gaza after the war ends, a subject that has been getting renewed attention since Benjamin Netanyahu presented an outline of a plan to the war cabinet on Thursday. Gat argues that, contrary to the view of the American and European foreign-policy elite, there is no political solution for Gaza. After all, Gaza is in the Middle East, where “there are no solutions, . . . only bad options and options that are much worse.”

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security