Memo

Dr. Udi Levi, former senior officer in the Mossad, now Senior Researcher at The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS), policy paper “Qatar- The Bloody Engine of Hamas” from October 2023:

 

In an unprecedented move against Qatar and the Al-Thani family, on June 5, 2017, the Gulf states and Egypt severed their relations with Qatar and posed an ultimatum demanding Qatar and its rulers to choose between financing Hamas and aligning with members of the Muslim Brotherhood axis, which includes Iran and other terrorist organizations, or  partnering with the international community. The ultimatum included 13 claims, among which:

  • Restraining diplomatic relations with Iran and closing their diplomatic delegation there, including the removal of individuals of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard from Qatar.
  • Severing all connections with the terrorist organizations, with special emphasis on the Islamic Brotherhood, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, while simultaneously officially declaring these entities to be terrorist groups.
  • Shutting down the Al-Jazeera news network, which is fully owned by Qatar.

  • Discontinuing financials support of individuals, groups, or organizations are defined as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, the US and other countries.

  • Aligning with the Gulf countries in accordance with the agreement made with Saudi Arabia in 2014.

The regional pressure on Qatar proved effective. In May 2017, inter alia due to the boycott applied to Qatar, the leader of Political Bureau of Hamas, Khaled Mashal, published an official declaration titled “The National Consent” with the Palestinian Authority, which separated Hamas from being a subsidiary of the “Islamic Brotherhood”, and presented it as a “National Palestinian Liberation Movement”.

Its original grand vision, namely the liberation of the entire of Palestine “from the river to the sea” and the establishment of a Muslim state on the ruins of all of Israel –was replaced a more realistic vision of an independent Palestinian state with full governance within the 1967 borders.

The rhetoric of a total religious war of annihilation against the Jewish people and of complete resistance to peace initiatives and international summits was replaced with a rhetoric of political struggle along with an armed one – this time not against Jewish people, but against the “Zionist occupation”.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, tore up the document publicly and threw it in the trashcan, claiming it “a work of deception.”

But only a year later the Israeli government adopted the approach by which a flow of Qatari funds to Gaza will “calm Hamas” and stabilize the southern border since Hamas’ priorities are to rule Gaza rather than to destroy Israel, Israelis civilians, and Jews everywhere. In reality, however,  with Israel’s knowledge, the leadership of Hamas in Gaza became a tool at the hands of Qatar.

In 2018, the Israeli Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, resigned in protest of what he called the decision of the State of Israel, its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and the then head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, “to feed the monster” called Hamas with Qatari suitcases full of cash effectively granting Hamas and Qatar immunity.

Lieberman added:

“We must understand that what is called ‘financial aid to the sum of 15 million dollars’ that we allowed to transfer in cash to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, is a net 15 million dollars for terrorism. Anyone saying that there is a list and there is an oversight and control mechanism, and that there are fingerprints and footprints and eye prints – it is all a mirage. Once the money crosses into the Gaza strip, there is no oversight on it. The first to enjoy the funds are those same families of the 230 terrorists who were killed in confrontations with IDF soldiers on the fence. What we are actually doing right now, as a state, is we are buying short-term quiet at the price of a massive blow to the national security in the long run.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration played a pivotal role in thawing  relations with Qatar, simultaneously funneling of Qatari funds to Hamas and  various terrorist organizations around the world. And indeed, the regional four years boycott on Qatar was lifted in January 2021, after Qatar pledged to stop its support of terrorism and regional instability.

 

Despite this agreement, since 2021, Qatar and the Emir Al-Thani have been continuing to nurture a warm and sympathetic relationship with Hamas, including the appointment of a special ambassador to Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi. al-Emadi would enter and exit Gaza several times a year.

The extensive funds flowing from Qatar to Hamas were exposed in fascinating detail in 2020 in a lawsuit claiming 2.1 billion dollars in damage from the Central Qatari Bank, which was filed in the New York county court on behalf of 24 families of Americans murdered and injured by terrorist acts.

The indictment describes in great detail how the Qatari government had funded the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations since 2006, with sums that started out at a relatively small amount of about 50 million dollars a year, and that have increased to 410 million dollars a year.

According to these court documents, between 2012 and 2018 alone, Qatar transferred 1.8 billion dollars to the Hamas terrorist organization, including 250 million dollars directly to the Head of the Political Bureau Hamas, Khaled Mashal, in 2013.

Despite all of this, in September 2022, the Qatari Emir, Al-Thani, announced that his country had no connection to the “Islamic Brotherhood” movement. In an interview with the French newspaper Le Point, the ruler of Qatar said:

Qatar conducts itself with countries and governments, not with political parties, this connection does not exist and there are no operatives or members of the Islamic Brotherhood movement on Qatari soil or those of any group associated with it.”

Evidence of the tight bond between Qatar and Islamic terrorists and the Hamas movement:

Khaled Mashal, leader of the Hamas’ political bureau, lives in Qatar and operates out of its territory ever since Hamas was forced to abandon its base in Syria in 2012. Mashal enjoys complete freedom of movement, as well as Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, who has been living in Qatar and operating out of it since 2020. About a week after orchestrating the ruthless and unprecedented terrorist attack in October 2023 in Israel, Haniyeh met Iran’s foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian – on Qatari soil. The objective of the meeting was defined thus: “to discuss the continued fight in Gaza.”

Apart from Mashal and Haniyeh, other Hamas officers also live and operate openly and comfortably out of Qatar, such as Khalil al-Hayya, the former deputy of Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza, who was appointed in 2022 as “the Head of Relations with the Arabic and Islamic States” for Hamas.

Mohamed Ahmed Abdel-Dayem Nasrallah lives in Qatar, and has been accused by the Americans on October 18. 2023, and following the massacre in Israel, of transferring tens of millions of dollars from Qatar to Hamas and the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades – for which an order was issued stating that any actor conducting financial, or any other, relations with him will be boycotted and have all assets seized by the US immediately.

Saleh al-Arouri, who is in charge of terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria for Hamas, has frequently visited Qatar.

In fact, the terrorism list of the US Treasury contains a great number of official Qatari entities involved in financing terrorism.

The most prominent individuals include: Abd Al-Rahman al-Nuaimi (a clerk in the Qatari Department of Education), functioning as a funding party on behalf of the Qatari government. Al-Nuaimi was responsible for the transfer of millions of dollars to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Lebanon, and Yemen. Another entity is Hamid Abdallah Al-Ali, who was involved in the funding of Al-Qaeda entities, and among other things, in the attack on the US military in Iraq in March 2012, and who has received support from the Qatari Department of Religions. Hajjaj al-Ajmii is a Kuwaiti Salafi who used to work in the Department of Religious Affairs in Qatar, and who collected money to finance ISIS during sermons he gave in the Central Mosque in Doha. In 2012, the Saudis prevented his entrance to Riyadh, due to his collecting of money for terrorist organizations. Khalifa al-Subaiy – the General Manager of the Qatar Central Bank, was the ambassador of the Qatari ruler to Al-Qaeda in the Middle East, and more. As mentioned, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, used to meet with the Qatari ambassador, Mohammed al-Emadi, very frequently, with the encouragement and knowledge of the Israeli leadership, who was sedated by monthly infusions of cash attempting to guarantee that “Hamas is at bay”. That was a false perception.

Despite the unequivocal support Qatar gave the offspring of the Islamic Brotherhood movement, Shiite organizations are also benefitting from its great support.

The Lebanese Hezbollah is a clear example.

The first evidence of the Qatari support of Hezbollah was provided after the Second Lebanon War in 2006, which was exposed on Wikileaks, and which referred to the visit of the Qatari Emir in Lebanon in areas bombarded by Israel in South of the capital, Beirut. The Emir participated in a press conference with the Lebanese President Lahoud, in which he said: “the Lebanese people and the Lebanese resistance have scored the first Arab victory, a thing we have been yearning for.” The Emir expressed resistance to the possibility of the disarmament of Hezbollah, since this would turn Lebanon into an easy target for Israel, “and that is unacceptable.” Many publications have pointed to the fact that Qatar provided ongoing assistance to Hezbollah, under the guise of humanitarian aid. The leak, that was exposed on “Fox News” on August 5, 2017, stated that two Qatari charity organizations, the Sheikh Eid bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association and the institution “Education Above All”, transferred the money to Hezbollah in Beirut under the cover of “food and medicine”.

In 2017, a British operator working for Qatar exposed the scope of the Qatari aid to Hezbollah. “Jason G”, a confidant of the Qatari who was responsible for financing some of their undercover projects, exposed his involvement in the transfer of armaments and funds from Qatar to Hezbollah. According to this operative, the Qatari Department of Defense, via Qatar Investment Authority, transferred funds from the banks QIA and QNB directly from the accounts of the Qatari charity organizations. These funds assisted, among other things, in the purchase of armaments sent to Lebanon.

The extremist religious leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi (who died in Qatar in 2022). Qaradawi was known mostly for his popular program on Al-Jazeera, “al-Sharia wa al-Ḥayāh” (Sharia and Life), which was viewed by an audience of about 40 million Muslims, as well as the Internet website IslamOnline, of which Qaradawi was one of the founders in 1997. Qaradawi an enthusiastic supporter of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israeli targets, including civilian, claiming it was a “legitimate expression of resistance”.

He said:

“The suicide bomber is a saint, since he has given his life for the holy goal of fighting oppression… these actions must be seen as a weapon of the weak against the strong. This a form of divine justice, when the poor, who are weaponless, receive a weapon the strong and armed lack… this weapon is their willingness to transform their bodies to bombs, as the Palestinians are doing.”

Moreover, Qaradawi issued a fatwa allowing to attack Jews all over the world, if “the leaders of the Islamic resistance in Palestine believe that the well-being of the Palestinians necessitates the attack of US and Israeli interests outside of the Palestinian territory.”

To prevent further tragedy and the risk of an all-out regional and global war, an unequivocal message needs to be sent out from the international community to the Emirate in Qatar: stop sponsoring and harboring Hamas immediately – before it is too late.”