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

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood