The GCC nation has managed to secure the release of four captives from Hamas so far.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with Qatari Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha on Saturday where he lauded Qatar for its “tireless mediation initiatives” amid the devastating Israeli war on Gaza.
“I came to Doha to express to Prime Minister [@MBA_AlThani_] our full gratitude, appreciation and support for Qatar’s tireless mediation initiatives, namely for the release of the hostages kept in Gaza,” he stated in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
In another post, Guterres voiced his deep disappointment at the recent escalations by Israel in Gaza.
“I was encouraged by what seemed to be a growing consensus for the need of at least a humanitarian pause in the Middle East. Regrettably, instead I was surprised by an unprecedented escalation of bombardments, undermining humanitarian objectives”.
A Qatari foreign ministry statement said Sheikh Mohammed expressed Doha’s firm position in condemning “all forms of targeting civilians, adding that killing innocent civilians, especially women and children, and practicing the policy of collective punishment are unacceptable under any pretext.”
He also underscored Qatar’s complete rejection of the indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip and the attempts to forcibly displace its people, warning of the danger of the land escalation of this war to the safety of civilians and hostages in Gaza.
The PM, who also server as foreign minister, vowed that Qatar would continue its collaboration with the UN on mediation efforts.
“We affirm the continuation of Qatari mediation efforts to release civilian hostages and everything that would end the war and achieve peace,” he said in a post on X.
On 20 October, Qatar’s diplomatic role proved to be successful once again with the release of two American captives, identified as Judith Raanan and Natalie Raanan—a mother and a daughter, from Hamas.
Then on Monday, Qatar and Egypt pushed for the release of two elderly women from Hamas, both identified as 79-year old Nurit Yitzhak and 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz.
In an interview with Sky News published on Friday, Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohammed Al Khulaifi said Non-stop escalations in Gaza have made Qatar’s mediation task to secure the release of captives from Hamas much more difficult, though the Gulf mediator remains hopeful.
“It’s a very, very difficult negotiation that we’ve been dealing with. I always say that one of the most difficult mediations is between two parties that have zero confidence in each other. And to have some sort of indirect talks between the two sides is extremely difficult as you could imagine,” Al Khulaifi said.
He added: “With this violence increasing everyday, with this bombing continuous everyday our task has become even more difficult. But despite that, we remain hopeful, we remain committed to our role of reaching out to the parties with the aim of reaching a positive result.”
Guterres landed in Doha on Saturday evening, mere hours after Israel intensified its bombardment on Gaza after cutting off all forms of communications in the already besieged Strip.
Following the meeting, the PM warned “The Israeli ground escalation will have dire consequences for civilians with devastating humanitarian and economic dimensions.”
The UN chief’s trip also came after the General Assembly overwhelmingly supported the call for an immediate humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas, and for providing aid access to the beleaguered Gaza Strip.
Drafted by Arab states, the resolution is not legally binding but holds considerable political influence. It was adopted following a vote of 120 members in favour, including Qatar, with 14 against and 45 abstentions.
Israel and its principal ally, the United States, both of whom have previously blocked at least three other humanitarian ceasefire proposals, rejected the current UN proposal.
Canada, an abstaining nation in the vote, proposed an amendment to the resolution that would also condemn Hamas for its capture of “hostages” during an attack on 7 October. However, the suggestion failed to gain traction and was ultimately rejected.
Qatar’s foreign ministry on Saturday urged the international community to respect the non-binding resolution, recently passed by the UN General Assembly, which calls for a “humanitarian truce”.
On Saturday, Hamas official Ghazi Hamad asked for the immediate enactment of the UN General Assembly’s resolution.
Speaking at a news conference in Beirut, Hamad said, “We consider the decision a victory for our Palestinian people, and we demand this aid piled up on the Egyptian side be quickly sent and distributed to all areas and hospitals in the Gaza Strip.”
He warned of an impending catastrophe as Israel intensifies its air and ground offensives in Gaza.
Since the start of the war on October 7, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have killed at least 7,650 people, including at least 3,038 children and 1,726 women—both of which represent around 70% of the overall casualties.