Qatar denies any claims of plans to normalise with Israel, despite neighbouring countries’ steps towards formalising ties with the occupying state.
By the time the FIFA 2022 World Cup comes around, Israel and Qatar will normalise relations, Israeli Rabbi Marc Schneier, an advisor to leaders in the Gulf claimed in an interview with local media.
“For 12 years I’ve been working on this,” Schneier told the Jerusalem Post. “As someone who paved the way, I see this as two down and four to go in the Gulf. I won’t be content until I see Qataris, Saudis, Omanis and Kuwaitis join as well. Then you will see a transformation.”
“I’m not suggesting it will happen immediately, but you need those channels. The Amir of Qatar has said to me, ‘Rabbi, Qatar, Israel and Singapore, countries that fly above their weight,’ and you don’t underestimate Qatar. It’s small and influential,” said Schneier about his alleged conversation with Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
However, it is unlikely that Doha will recognise Israel unless the issue of Palestine is addressed, Schneier said.
The predictions draw a stark contrast to Qatar’s position on normalisation, which it said cannot happen without providing Palestinians with their rights.
The Amir himself has reiterated his country’s firm position on the illegal Israeli occupation, rejecting normalisation claims amid increasing rumours.
Echoing earlier comments, Sheikh Tamim said peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved as long as the occupation on Palestinian land continues and its people are denied the ability to exercise their legitimate rights.
“Concerning our region, we reaffirm our steadfast position regarding the just Palestinian cause and the legitimate rights of our Palestinian brothers, including the establishment of their independent state on the basis of 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution to the refugees issue, under international legitimacy resolutions,” he said.
Following several allegations about Qatar normalising with the occupying Israeli state, the Amir emphasised that his country will not follow the footsteps of the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, all of which formalised ties with Tel Aviv in an official signing ceremony at the White House in September.
“The normalisation of relations with Israel without a just solution to the problem of Palestine is a mere illusion.”