The committee was established in 2012 and has since played a crucial role in Gaza by providing families with monthly salaries, inaugurating key entities, and rebuilding the Strip throughout past Israeli aggressions.
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) vandalised and attacked Qatar’s main diplomatic presence in Gaza on Monday, drawing condemnation from Doha and the wider region for Israel’s ongoing war crimes in the Strip.
Images published on social media showed the Qatari Reconstruction Committee building damaged and vandalised by Israeli soldiers who spray-painted the Star of David on the structure.
Qatar’s foreign ministry condemned the bombing “in the strongest terms” and described it as “a blatant violation of international law and an extension of the occupation’s approach to targeting civilians and civilian objects.”
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that the bombing of the headquarters of Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee is an extension of the policy of targeting people, especially since this committee worked, through its projects, to alleviate the suffering of the population in the Gaza Strip, which is in crisis due to the long siege and continuing aggression,” the statement read.
The attack on the Qatari building comes as Israel refuses to halt its non-stop and indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza, where more than 11,200 Palestinians, including 4,600 children, have been killed in a matter of weeks.
The Qatari foreign ministry further stressed the need for urgent action from the international community to hold Israel accountable for its “repeated crimes against civilians and civilian objects and to oblige it to comply with international laws.”
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also calls on the Israeli occupation to stop providing flimsy justifications for targeting civilian objects, health facilities, and civilians and to use misleading information and stresses that this cannot be accepted under any consideration as a pretext for targeting the headquarters of the committee that has been concerned with the reconstruction What the occupation destroyed in its repeated wars on the Gaza Strip,” the statement added.
The attack on the official building drew condemnation from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt and Jordan, as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
GCC Secretary-General Jassim Al-Budaiwi said it was “further evidence of the brutality and recklessness of the occupation forces.”
The committee was established in 2012 under the umbrella of Qatar’s foreign ministry by Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who ruled the country at the time. The historic trip marked the first such visit by a head of state to the Palestinian enclave.
The Qatari entity has since played a crucial role in providing families with monthly salaries, inaugurating key entities, and rebuilding the Strip following numerous brutal Israeli aggressions. The Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa bin Thani Hospital for prosthetics is one of the most major projects implemented by the committee.
Last week, IOF spokesperson Daniel Hagari alleged Hamas is using the Qatar-funded hospital among others, claiming that it has tunnels that Hamas used as hiding places.
Those allegations were swiftly dismissed by the Gulf state as well as multiple independent investigations that found the tunnels in question were in fact water tanks.
The targeting of Qatari facilities comes as some critics accuse the Gulf state of backing Hamas due to its hosting of the group’s political office.
Doha agreed to host Hamas’ office in 2012 in response to a request by the United States to maintain channels of communication with the group, which has proven to be peffective throughout past Israeli aggressions.
More recently, the presence of the Hamas office has placed Qatar in a crucial position to mediate for the release of civilian captives held Hamas in Gaza.
Hamas captured some 242 Israeli’s and foreigners during the operation, ‘Al Aqsa Flood’ on October 7, in which the Palestinian group managed to infiltrate occupied territories through air, land and sea.
So far, Qatari mediation has led to the release of four captives before talks appeared to stall due to the intensifying Israeli bombardment.
Despite its key diplomatic role in de-escalating the violence in Gaza, Qatar has continued to face criticism.
Last week, US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), also known as the House Intelligence Committee, shared a video from an interview between Fox News and congressman Michael Waltz.
During the interview, Waltz, a member of the republican party, accused Qatar and Turkiye of “backing” Hamas and warned both would “feel the ramifications” in the case of any harm befalling US captives held in Gaza.
“We need to be sending a very clear message to Hamas’ backers, whether that’s Turkiye or Qatar or others…that if the hair on an American’s head is touched, they will all feel the ramifications, not just Hamas leadership themselves,” Waltz told Fox News.
In response to the video shared by HSPCI on X, formerly known as Twitter, Qatar’s embassy in the US responded by calling out the intelligence body’s contribution to the latest wave of misinformation.
“We are surprised that [HSPCI] is promoting misinformation on their official account, knowing that the Hamas political office in Qatar was opened following a request by the US to establish indirect lines of communication with Hamas,” the embassy said.
“Not only is this counterproductive to Qatar’s efforts in ongoing negotiations, it also makes a direct threat to a US ally. Spreading these false narratives create obstacles for constructive mediation efforts,” the statement added.
On October 13, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani slammed exploitative attempts to harm its reputation as a key mediator.
“I must stress here that Qatar’s commitment and its role as a partner in peacemaking and a mediator in reducing conflict should not be exploited to harm my country’s reputation through malicious accusations, the falsity of which previous experiences have proven,” Sheikh Mohammed said at the time.