Qatar threatens to expel Hamas over US ceasefire proposal

Qatar threatens to expel Hamas over US ceasefire proposal

Shafaq News / On Friday, Qatar has threatened to expel Hamas from Doha if the group does not accept the US proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza.

According to a senior American official quoted by CNN, "After months of cautioning Hamas about the potential expulsion if they reject the hostage release deal, Qatar has now issued a direct threat to the group."

Previously, US officials have publicly urged Hamas to accept earlier ceasefire proposals. However, the current efforts represent a comprehensive pressure campaign characterized by specific requests to various countries as part of the Biden administration’s broader strategy.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made nearly a dozen calls to key regional players since Friday, with other senior State Department officials also deeply involved in the effort.

Brett McGurk, the White House Middle East Coordinator, traveled to Egypt this week, and CIA Director Bill Burns went to Qatar, aiming to boost the negotiations. Yet, US officials have remained largely silent about these trips due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing diplomatic efforts.

While Hamas initially welcomed Biden’s proposal, they later stated that the mediated plan "lacked the positive foundations mentioned in Biden’s statements," criticizing it for not ensuring a permanent ceasefire and allowing Israeli forces to remain in Gaza.

Despite this, the Biden administration remains optimistic about reaching a deal, with a US official indicating that Egypt has received encouraging signals from Hamas regarding the latest proposal. According to sources, Hamas is expected to respond to the Israeli proposal in the coming days.

As the Israel-Hamas conflict approaches its ninth month, US officials are urging Qatar, Egypt, and Turkiye to increase pressure on Hamas. This includes potential measures like freezing the bank accounts of Hamas members and restricting their travel in the region.

The US has specifically asked Qatar, which allows Hamas to operate a political office in its capital, to announce the expulsion of the group if they reject the deal, an American official disclosed.

State Department spokesman Matt Miller stated on Wednesday that Egypt and Qatar are "applying significant pressure on Hamas," without elaborating on the separate pressure campaigns.

Miller added, "We have seen both countries play an incredibly important role in mediating this agreement and clarifying that it is in the best interest of the Palestinian people."

Privately, US officials have acknowledged that Egypt is applying more pressure on Hamas than in the past, though the specifics of Egypt's dialogue with the group remain unclear. The US wants Cairo to threaten to cut off access points from Egypt to Gaza, a critical lifeline for the territory.

On May 31, President Biden presented a roadmap proposed by Israel, outlining a six-week ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas in Gaza, and the release of hostages held by Hamas and Palestinian detainees in Israel.

Israel's military offensive on Gaza has resulted in the deaths of at least 37,263 people, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run’s health ministry.
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