Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Qatar should leverage its influence on Hamas to release hostages in Gaza.
“Qatar hosts the leaders of Hamas, finances Hamas, and has leverage on Hamas,” Netanyahu said at a press conference in Tel Aviv.
According to Netanyahu, Qatar “said that it can help bring back (the hostages) — therefore, let them apply their pressure. They put themselves as a mediator — please prove it and return our hostages.”
Qatar has played as the primary mediator in the indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas. It focuses its efforts on bringing an end to the ongoing conflict and securing the release of over 100 hostages still held in Gaza by Hamas and other militant groups.
Last week, Israel’s Channel 12 TV news released a recording of Netanyahu saying in a close meeting that Qatar’s role as a mediator is “problematic.” He told the families of the hostages “you don’t hear me thanking Qatar.”
Qatar said it was “appalled” by the comments. Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Majed al-Ansari wrote in a post on the social media platform X on Wednesday that “these remarks, if validated, are irresponsible and destructive to the efforts to save innocent lives but are not surprising.” ■