DOHA: Qatar reiterated yesterday that the demands of the Palestinians for an end to Israeli aggression were just. Qatar’s Foreign Minister
H E Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah said that the country’s stand vis-à-vis a ceasefire in Gaza consists of ending the attack on Gaza Strip and lifting the siege.
Al Attiyah told Al Jazeera TV channel in an interview that the goals of Paris Conference on Gaza was to brief the representatives of the EU: Italy, France, Germany and the United Kingdom on the outcome of negotiations and how all the parties involved could reach a ceasefire.
The Foreign Minister dismissed reports that the conference was to extend the ceasefire, stressing that the main goal was to lift the siege on Gaza.
On Israel’s allegations that Qatar finances terrorism, he said that Israeli Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs are exercising terrorism themselves and not just supporting it. As a result, the Foreign Minister said, they had no right to talk about supporting terrorism. Al Attiyah also denied that Qatar and Turkey were pressuring Hamas in any way, saying that their role is only to convey the demands of Palestinians in a transparent and honest way. Many members of the international community feel for the struggle of Hamas, but due to many considerations cannot make those feelings public.
He said that people in Gaza Strip were living in abysmal conditions since 1967, noting that Israel’s withdrawal in 2005 was only aimed to isolate the strip demographically even further.
On the kidnapping of three Israeli teens in the West Bank, the Minister said that Palestinian factions had long been the first to claim responsibility for such incidents.
However, this was not the case with the June 12 incident, he said, adding: “In response, Israel waged a war with fighter jets and tanks from June 12 to July 6”.
Al Attiyah said that in addition to innumerable deaths caused by Israeli fire, Gaza strip was facing a slow death through the siege which left them with no option but to defend themselves for a better life.
He highlighted Israel’s continued disrespect for most of agreements signed between the two parties, giving an example with the ceasefire agreement in 2012. The agreement was to establish a ceasefire in return for releasing Palestinians languishing in Israeli prisons which did not happen.
Al Attiyah cited another example — that of the 2011 agreement regarding Israeli officer Shalit. The agreement was to exchange Shalit with Palestinian prisoners. But Israel incarcerated more Palestinians from the West Bank.
Al Attiyah said that the demand of the people in Gaza is to implement the 2012 and 2011 agreements, in addition to establishing a commercial port that would help the people in Gaza earn a living.
The demands also include establishing Gaza’s sovereignty over its territorial waters.
On a rumored disagreement with Egypt’s role and whether there was a Qatari-Turkish coalition against Egypt’s role, the Minister dismissed such rumours saying that Qatar, Turkey and the Arab World valued Egypt’s role, describing it as the top role in the current negotiations.
Al Attiyah said Qatar has been in contact with Egyptian authorities to offer their support and said that Egypt, based on geography, will be the country most concerned with developments in Gaza. On Israel refusing an extension of the ceasefire, the Minister said that the Israeli government has been operating outside the scope of international law and all international conventions, stressing however that no one will abandon Palestinians, adding that the Palestinian cause is the cause of all Arab and Islamic countries.
The Foreign Minister said that the Palestinian side worked productively with US Secretary of State John Kerry over the past few days. However all the good work was undone by the Israeli cabinet’s rejection.
The Foreign Minister stressed that the Palestinian resistance was legitimate and will continue until they free their land. He added that those who want peace must commit to peace agreements.
HE the Foreign Minister also warned that Israel can no longer enter the West Bank and Gaza and attack them as in the past, adding that now Israel could pay for its action through the international community and the UN Security Council.