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Qatar is Hamas' most important financial backer and foreign ally. Qatari Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was the first state leader to visit the Hamas government in 2012. So far, the emirate has transferred €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) to Hamas. Israel, meanwhile, hopes Qatar will join the US-brokered Abraham Accords and establish diplomatic relations with it, as a number of Arab states already have done.

https://amp.dw.com/en/who-is-hamas/a-57537872

Has Qatar ever been punished for supporting Hamas? The article above says that Qatar not only has been an ally, but it also financed the terrorist group. Has Qatar ever been punished through sanctions or some other means for supporting the terrorist organization? If not, why?

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    I think this is sort of the opposite of another one of your questions politics.stackexchange.com/questions/82390/…
    – Joe W
    Nov 7, 2023 at 17:06
  • The article doesn't say that Qatar is an ally of Hamas - i.e., that there is any official agreement of alliance between them. A visit by Emir is just a visit... and it was not necessarily a formal official visit. As an example - Anwar Sadat visited Israel and addressed the Knesset, while Israel and Egypt were still technically in a state of war... and they are hardly allies even today. Nov 10, 2023 at 16:03
  • @RogerV. "The article doesn't say that Qatar is an ally of Hamas". It literally says that in the quote "Qatar is Hamas' most important financial backer and foreign ally." Whether you agree with that assessment or not is another matter. Nov 11, 2023 at 11:43
  • @Fizz it seems the article, the OP, and now you, play on the ambiguity of wird ally. My comment however was clear about what I mean by this term: that there is any official agreement of alliance between them. Nov 11, 2023 at 13:25
  • @RogerV.: Israel doesn't have an alliance treaty with the US, AFAIK, at least not in the sense of a mutual-defense treaty. Few would think they are not allies though, to some extent at least. The US even has the "major non-NATO ally" designation, which includes Israel. The fact that you apparently don't consider such a use of the word valid outside a formal alliance... is rather idiosyncratic. Nov 11, 2023 at 13:35

3 Answers 3

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Funds transferred from Qatar to Hamas in the Gaza strip have at various times been with not just the knowledge, or the consent, but with the active help of the Israeli government (source here, though this is very well-documented and you can find plenty of others). Given this, it would be hard to accuse Qatar of supporting Hamas without also levelling the same accusation at (among others) Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel.

That's not to say that nobody makes those claims. What funds Gaza receives, via what method, and from which sources has been a long-running argument within Israeli politics. But Qatar supplying funding isn't the same thing as them docking ships full of weapons for Hamas. Israel maintained very strict controls over what materials could actually be imported into Gaza (and exported out of it as well).

I hope this is useful context for why Qatar's involvement in the funding of the Gaza strip, and the Hamas-run government, isn't treated in the same way as Iranian arms and training being given to the Hamas military wing.

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    This is probably the strongest answer. No one's gonna bother getting aggressive w Qatar about this if Israel uses them as a backchannel anyway. Nov 8, 2023 at 3:50
  • I imagine that given recent events, any further funding for Hamas is going to be considered problematic by Israel.
    – Ian Kemp
    Nov 10, 2023 at 15:26
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At the end of the day, Gaza needs funding, to keep its 2M people going. Given that its government is Hamas, one can go quite far stating that "one doesn't support Hamas, the terrorist group, one is merely assisting a population in need, whose government is Hamas, the "resistance" * group".

Sophistry and fund diversion considerations aside, what does everyone else propose, that those folk are left to starve? Even the EU funds Gaza. Think Hamas doesn't skim?

Now, this isn't necessarily stating that Qatar is a paragon of virtue and that helping Hamas hasn't been a problem in the past *. Merely that this notion of "punishment" is a bit unrealistic, all the more against an oil producing country. Plenty of countries fund armed groups. And plenty of countries in the region have even more skeletons in their closet. Rich Saudi Arabians, though not the government, funded Al Qaeda in the past, after Bin Laden got exiled. Saudi Arabia only got the anti-terrorist religion when they were faced with the risk of internal uprisings and terrorism themselves, in the early/mid 2000s, way past 9/11.

p.s. Just to be clear: I don't doubt Hamas diverts resources. As a, nasty, dictatorship, that's pretty much part of their job description. A fuel tank they own exploding however doesn't mean that the world should shrug and say, well, "Gaza hospitals could run with THAT fuel, so those hospitals can stay dry until Hamas gives up their hoard". That is just not going to happen while Hamas remains in power, so a blockade until then is not ethically permissible. As part of humanitarian re-supply pauses, maybe the UN could deliver fuel to specifically those hospitals and not just Gaza as a whole. Certainly more conditions should be imposed. But not just a blanket blockade.

* Post 10/7 and the particularly horrific methods to slaughter a 1000+ civilians at close range (no collateral damage here, no), I suspect Hamas sponsorship will become more toxic to deal with.

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Kinda was by Saudi Arabia et co. when they broke off relations (restored in the meantime). Although the accusation was more vaguely phrased that Qatar supports terrorism. But that was also due to Qatar's closeness to Iran, which goes hand in hand with their support for Gaza, given Iran's support for Hamas. So that event was related in a complicated way, even if the Saudis don't dislike Hamas directly that much.

There's also one point of distinction that Qatar would probably like to make, i.e. that (in their view) they sponsor "above board" civilian projects in Gaza, even if this includes paying civil servants directly there. In contrast, I understand that Iran directly claims/admits to be sponsoring Hamas' military wing.

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    Wasn't that episode at least partially due to Al-Jazeera, stated-owned by them, ruffling Saudi feathers? They tended, IIRC, to have some investigative reporting criticizing cozy Arab dictatorships. Although, Qatar, being a shining example of democratic liberalism, never got criticized itself. Nov 7, 2023 at 16:29
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica: the Saudis issued a pretty long list of demands (13). Closing al-Jazeera was indeed one of them, but hardly the only one. BTW, if you read some Bahranian propaganda of the time, Iran was behind all Arab Springs. Nov 7, 2023 at 16:34

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