Israel is angry with Qatar over the countryO’s growing ties with Gaza’s Hamas rulers, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
“We are angry with Qatar because it supports Hamas,” Yigal Palmor said in reference to the Islamist movement which does not recognise Israel and whose founding charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
“It is becoming a state which supports Hamas more and more,” Palmor said in response to questions about a report in Maariv newspaper which said Israel was to sever all remaining ties with Doha over its “widespread and ongoing anti-Israeli activity.”
“(The article) says that we want to cut relations with them, but there are no relations: they cut off relations with us,” he said.
Qatar technically severed nominal ties with the Jewish state during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s massive 22-day assault on Gaza which began at the end of December 2008.
According to the paper, top officials at the foreign ministry have written a classified report outlining steps that Israel intends to implement “in the near future” against Qatar.
Israel is also angry at Doha on account of the legal and political aid it is providing to the Palestinians ahead of their bid to seek UN membership in September — help provided by Qatar in its role as chair of the Arab League’s monitoring committee, Maariv said.
The ministry’s report claims that Qatar has been “significantly involved” in pushing the Palestinians to seek statehood in September and the legal preparations towards that.
As a result, Israel had taken various steps to cut all remaining ties, the classified report said.
“We have decided to take off the gloves in light of Qatar’s widespread and ongoing anti-Israeli activity,” a senior official told the paper. “Qatar is currently leading the activity against Israel on the international front, and we cannot continue to behave toward it as if normal relations still existed.”
Meanwhile, a truce announced by Gaza militants appeared to be unravelling after 11 Palestinians were killed in seven Israeli air strikes in under 48 hours.
The latest spike in violence was kicked off by an air strike on the southern city of Rafah at around 2am on Wednesday that killed Islamic Jihad militant Ismail Al Ismar, and provoked a flurry of retaliatory rocket attacks.
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