The stumbling block to Israeli relations with Qatar is the absence of a Palestinian state at the pre-1967 lines, the Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.
“We don’t have a war with Israel, the Israelis have an occupation over the Palestinians,” Al Thani told the International Institute for Strategic Studies at an event in Singapore on Friday.
He spoke about Qatar’s global role but was pressed about Saudi Arabia and its renewed diplomatic ties with Iran, as well as about the potential for a normalization deal between Riyadh and Jerusalem.
The restoration of Saudi-Iranian relations which was brokered by China, Al Thani said, “was something we encouraged for a long time to stabilize the region.”
With respect to the Saudi-Israel normalization deal and to the integration of Israel in the region in general, he said that in the end, little could happen unless the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
Qatar: Only peace between Israel and the Palestinians can end the conflict
“Any agreement with the Israelis doesn’t represent peace,” Al Thani said. “Peace can only be represented between [Israel] and the Palestinians,” he added.
The conflict between the region and Israel is over the Palestinian issue. The reference for all Arab states is the Arab Peace Initiative, which was launched by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Al Thani said.
The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative he referenced offered to normalize ties with Israel in exchange for its withdrawal to the pre-1967 to allow for the creation of a Palestinian state on that territory.
Under the terms of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, four Arab countries agreed to normalize ties with Israel despite the conflict with the Palestinians. The four countries were the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.
Qatar does not have relations with Israel. Al Thani said that Qatar was sticking with the Arab Peace Initiative.
“We believe that this is the best way to make peace,” he said.