Qatar Offers to Mediate between Israel and Gaza
As the current Israeli-Hamas conflict develops into a land war, with the Israeli Defense Force crossing the border in an effort to destroy tunnels Israel says Hamas uses to transport rockets into Israel in order to fire on cities too far from the border, the United States has asked the government of Qatar, which has strong ties to Hamas leadership, to influence the group. Qatar has gone one step further and proposed themselves as mediators between Hamas and Israel.
Israel, however, remains distrustful of Qatar largely due to those very Hamas links. With the recent failure of an Egyptian-brokered cease fire, which saw Israel stop firing on Hamas for several hours while Hamas – regarded as a terrorist group by both Israel and the United States – continued to fire on Israeli targets, brokering any sort of mediation between the two sides will be difficult.
The United States has approach Qatar after realizing that any peace talks brokered by Egypt would be bound to fail. The Egyptian government also regards Hamas as a terrorist organization due to tits close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. If Israel could be convinced to accept Qatar as a mediator, Hamas would likely go along as well.
Qatar is eager to be seen as a major player in the region’s political sphere, and has been very supportive of recent “Arab Spring” movements in an effort to be seen as the leading state in the region. Its ties to both Hamas and the United States make it a sound choice – if Israel can be made to agree, which likely will not happen until the Israeli army has achieved its tactical goals in Gaza.