UN Ambassador Ron Prosor Labels Qatar 'Club Med for Terrorists'
Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, has labeled Qatar "a Club Med for terrorists" and urged world leaders to pressure the gulf state to end its funding for Hamas.
In a New York Times oped, Prosor insists that the only way to end ongoing violence between Israel and Gazan terrorist groups for good is to "disarm and isolate Hamas", which is committed to Israel's destruction and has rejected efforts at mediating a truce.
"Since the Disengagement from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has dragged us into three rounds of major assaults, and more than 14,800 rockets have been fired into Israel by the group and its proxies," Prosor wrote. "The discovery of tunnels packed with explosives, tranquilizers and handcuffs that end at the doorsteps of Israeli communities should be enough to convince anyone that Hamas has no interest in bringing quiet to Gaza or residing alongside Israel in peace."
Prosor noted that the tiny but oil-rich country of Qatar was the last major backer of Hamas, as the Middle East's shifting political and sectarian fault lines suddenly left the Islamist group isolated after its former Arab allies - including Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia - all cut ties with it.
In the last few years, Doha's ruling al-Thani dynasty has pursued an aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East, competing with Saudi Arabia and Iran for influence in the region by funding a range of radical Islamist proxies, in particular Hamas and its parent organization the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Brotherhood-linked Syrian rebels. It has also served as a base for Hamas's top political leader, Khaled Mashaal, as well as the Afghan Taliban's leadership in exile and even a top Al Qaeda financier.
The "hundreds of millions of dollars" Qatar has transferred to Hamas in Gaza meant that "every one of Hamas's tunnels and rockets might as well have had a sign that said 'Made possible through a kind donation of the emir of Qatar'," Prosor quipped wryly.
Despite other gulf states withdrawing their ambassadors in protest of Doha's support for the Brotherhood "this hasn't stopped the Persian Gulf monarchy serving as a Club Med for terrorists," Prosor continued.
During the current round of hostilities between Israel and Gaza, the ambassador noted how it was Qatar which pushed Hamas not to accept an Egyptian ceasefire proposal by threatening to expel Khaled Mashaal, purely for political purposes. Palestinian sources said the gulf state's rulers were upset at not having been included in ceasefire talks, and that their move to sabotage negotiations was an attempt to replace the Egyptians as mediators, thereby further cementing their position as regional power-brokers.
Prosor ended by attacking Qatar's conflicting public image, presented to western audiences, "as a liberal, progressive country", and its true colors as a "micro monarchy... financing radical Islamist movements," urging the world "to wake up and smell the gas fumes."
He also echoed calls by other Israeli leaders and human rights groups to reconsider the decision to allow the country to host the 2022 World Cup.
"Qatar's continued sponsorship of Hamas all but guarantees that, whatever happens in this round of hostilities, the terrorist group will rearm and renew hostilities with Israel. The only way forward is to isolate Hamas's last major backer," he said.
"Given Qatar's considerable affluence and influence, this is an uncomfortable prospect for many Western nations, yet they must recognize that Qatar is not part of the solution but a significant part of the problem.
"To bring about a sustained calm the message to Qatar should be clear: Stop financing Hamas."