Qatari FM, Israeli minister spar at Munich Security Conference

Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid Mohamed A. Al-Attiyah asserted that the “major issue” behind all the turbulence in the Middle East is “that we are lagging behind on the peace process."

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
February 8, 2015 20:27
2 minute read.
Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid Mohamed A. Al-Attiyah and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz

Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid Mohamed A. Al-Attiyah and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The top representatives of Israel and Qatar engaged in a brief verbal sparring session during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid Mohamed A. Al-Attiyah asserted that the “major issue” behind all the turbulence in the Middle East is “that we are lagging behind on the peace process. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, or the conflict, is the main igniter to all the turbulence in the Middle East.”

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Al-Attiyah, joined on a panel dealing with the Middle East by Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz and Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki, further said that one of the reasons for the “Arab Spring” revolutions was the masses pushing their leaders to find a solution to the conflict, and “one of the revolutions' elements” was the Arab leaders' failure to deliver.

The Qatari foreign minister also likened Israel's demand to be recognized as a Jewish state to the popularity of Islamic State. “The world is fighting a group calling itself Islamic State, and you want to come and say [you are] a Jewish state,” he said to Steinitz.

The tones between the two men were raised when Steinitz asked why Qatar “is supporting a Jihadist organization like Hamas or Islamic State, instead of putting all its efforts into eliminating such jihadi oraganizations, whether they are working in Iraq, Gaza, Africa or elsewhere.”

“Even if they attack the Jewish state, the jihadist terrorists are just like those who attack Christians or moderate Muslims,” he said.

Al-Attiyah snapped back that not only does Qatar not support Hamas, an assertion belied by facts, but also that Hamas is not a terrorist group.



“Hamas has two aspects,” he said. “It has a social, political aspect, and another aspect: Resistance. If you lift the occupation, Hamas does not have to fight you. It is a movement of liberation.”

Furthermore, he asserted, not only does Qatar not support Islamic State, but is in the coalition against it.

Maliki, who is in a unity government with Hamas – an organization widely recognized as a terrorist group – said that the PA has offered its “contribution and participation” to fight Islamic State.

“We want to be part of that collective effort, and we are ready to engage,” he said.

The Palestinian foreign minister said that the PA is ready to offer its knowledge to fight radical Islamic groups like Boko Haram, al-Nusra, and al-Qaida. This is a reflection of how much we are ready, and in which camp we are in,” he said.

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