Israel to cut relations with Qatar, sanction Al Jazeera: Israeli media report 30Aug11 August 30, 2011

The Alternative Information Centre  -  28 August 2011

Israel is planning to cut relations with Qatar due to the latter’s “extensive anti-Israeli actions”, reports the Israeli online news source nrg. Israel is further considering not allowing in reporters from the Qatari-based Al Jazeera news agency due to its “biased coverage” that includes, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, “the aspiration to wipe Israel off the map”. cites a classified report prepared by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that details a series of measures that Israel has already begun to implement against Qatar for its “extensive anti-Israeli actions” throughout the world.

Actions noted include Qatar’s role as chairperson of the Arab Peace Initiative Follow-Up Committee, the political-legal assistance it is giving the Palestinian Authority initiative at the UN in September and support for any legal suits filed against Israel for its May 2010 killing of Turkish activists aboard the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla. The report further notes that Doha has deep connections with Hamas, evidenced by frequent visits of Khaled Mashaal to Doha and the funding of Hamas to the tune of some EUR 1million yearly.

Steps against Qatar were “taken at the highest level of (Israel’s) Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” including with Foreign Minister Lieberman. According to a senior official, “We decided to remove the gloves in light of the expansive and extended anti-Israeli activity of Qatar. Today Qatar is one of the leaders in actions against Israel in the international arena, and it is impossible to continue as if regular and correct relations exist.”

Israel is planning to close its representative office in Doha in March, although relations were officially cut by Qatar in December 2008 following Israel’s brutal attack on the Gaza Strip that month. Israel believes that the presence of its representative office allows Qatar to continue pressuring it and working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel.

Israel will now prohibit Qatar citizens, hitherto allowed into Israel and the OPT as part of Arab or international humanitarian delegations, from entering areas under its control. NRG reports that Israel recently prohibited entry of the head of Qatar’s mobile phone company from entering the OPT.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry takes a critical view of the popular Qatar-based Al Jazeera news network. Israel currently allows only Al Jazeera journalists with passports of countries with whom it has relations to work in Israel, although NRG reports that even this may be revoked in the future.

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