Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani called the occupation of Palestine a stumbling block for Qatar-Israel relations. Photo/Anadolu Agency
SINGAPORE – The stumbling block for Israel-Qatar relations is the absence of a Palestinian state as it was before 1967, said Qatari Prime Minister (PM) Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
“We are not at war with Israel. (The problem is) Israel is occupying Palestine,” Al Thani told the International Institute for Strategic Studies at an event in Singapore last week.
He spoke of Qatar’s global role but came under pressure regarding Saudi Arabia and its renewal of diplomatic ties with Iran, as well as about a potential normalization deal between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.
“The restoration of Saudi Arabia-Iran relations mediated by China is something we have been pushing for a long time to stabilize the region,” he said.
With regard to the Saudi Arabia-Israel normalization deal and Israel’s integration in the region in general, he said that in the end, little can happen unless the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
“Any agreement with Israel does not represent peace,” said Al Thani. “Peace can only be represented between (Israel) and Palestine,” he added, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post, Monday (28/8/2023).
“The conflict between the region and Israel is a Palestinian issue. The point of reference for all Arab countries is the Arab Peace Initiative launched by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Al Thani.
The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative to which he referred offered a normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal to pre-1967 times to allow the creation of a Palestinian state in the territory.
Under the terms of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, four Arab countries agreed to normalize relations with Israel despite the conflict with the Palestinians. The four countries are the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
Qatar has no relations with Israel. Al Thani said that Qatar sticks to the Arab Peace Initiative.
“We believe this is the best way to create peace,” he said.