Graham is a staunch supporter of Israel whose remarks on the current war have drawn criticism.
US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, while attending the Doha Forum in Qatar, defended the nation’s decision to host leaders of Hamas, stating, “they’re here so they can be talked to.”
Qatar has repeatedly stated that its hosting of the Hamas office was because of a US request after the Palestinian faction was expelled from Syria.
Despite criticism from some US lawmakers demanding the extradition of Hamas officials post-conflict, Qatar maintains its relationship with Hamas is a strategic necessity, acknowledged by both Israel and the US.
Graham, a staunch supporter of Israel, firmly backs its military onslaught the Gaza Strip and commended US President Joe Biden for vetoing a UN resolution that called for a ceasefire.
He also criticised UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for invoking a seldom-used article to appeal for a ceasefire – a move which the US opposed.
His remarks were made at the annual Doha Forum, a notable gathering for global officials and intellectuals discussing contemporary issues in the Qatari capital.
A known advocate for Israel, Graham has previously described the assault on Gaza as a “religious war”, suggesting Israel should intensify its efforts against Hamas.
His comments have stirred controversy, as he once stated there should be “no limit” to civilian casualties in Gaza. When pressed on his remarks by a Doha News journalist at the conference, Graham reiterated his view of Hamas as a “terrorist organisation.”
Qatar has played an instrumental role in brokering a temporary ceasefire, facilitating humanitarian aid, and securing the release of captives.
The forum coincided with Qatar demonstrating its diplomatic influence, notably mediating discussions between the CIA, Israel’s Mossad, and Hamas representatives through Egyptian and Qatari intermediaries.
Graham expressed gratitude towards Qatar for its assistance in the US’s Afghanistan withdrawal and its role in engaging with Hamas.
He acknowledged Qatar’s contributions, often unpopular, to global affairs, stating, “You’re more the solution than the problem.”
The senator also addressed the governance of Gaza post-conflict, criticising the current Palestinian Authority and advocating for new leadership.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has proposed a reduced role for Hamas in a future government, post-war.
Graham also suggested the Hamas-led attack on Israel on 7 October was an attempt to thwart the normalisation of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, an outcome feared by Iran.
Graham concluded by emphasising the importance of Gulf states supporting Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution, a pivotal step for future peace and cooperation in the region.
In a recent CNN interview, Graham downplayed the high civilian death toll in Gaza, suggesting Israel has no alternative. He compared Israel’s actions to the Allied efforts in World War II, suggesting a parallel between the war in Gaza and historic military campaigns against the Nazis.