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October 10, 2023

Latest Developments

Turkey and Qatar are reportedly working with the United States to broker a “ceasefire” or “hostage exchange” between Israel and Hamas. At the same time, Israeli officials are preparing to destroy Hamas as a terrorist organization capable of inflicting further harm on Israel. Any premature ceasefire or hostage negotiation that forces Israel to back down from military retaliation and puts more Hamas terrorists on the battlefield would hamper Israel’s efforts.

Turkey and Qatar are state sponsors of Hamas. Their potential role in a ceasefire or hostage negotiations raises questions as to whether the United States will push Ankara and Doha to close Hamas offices, expel Hamas officials, and cut off financial support to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

Expert Analysis

“The Obama administration attempted to rely on these sponsors of Hamas in 2014. Israel opposed it then. So did Egypt. I don’t see what would change here. They remain sponsors of Hamas, and they have no business negotiating anything, except perhaps the reparations they owe the Israelis for loss of life and limb over the years.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Washington would only be undermining Israel’s military posture and rewarding both Iran and Hamas by working with either Turkey or Qatar on a ceasefire or terrorist prisoner release. A better policy would be to use sanctions pressure against Ankara and Doha to force the closure of Hamas offices, expulsion of Hamas officials, and termination of financial support to Hamas by both capitals. Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways should not be allowed in U.S. airspace so long as Hamas gets safe harbor.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Qatar understands the gravity of Hamas’ attack on Israel and is now out in full force trying to rewind the clock to October 6, offering all kinds of de-escalation, truce, and even peace proposals. Unfortunately for Doha, that ship has sailed, and the free world now expects Israel to dismantle terrorist Hamas just like the world decimated terrorist ISIS.” Hussain Abdul-Hussain, FDD Research Fellow

Turkey’s Hamas Ties

In 2021, Israel accused senior Hamas officials based in Turkey — Hamas’ West Bank chief Saleh al-Arouri and senior Hamas member Zacharia Najib — of directing a terrorist attack in Israel. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh lives part-time in Turkey, and he and his son hold Turkish passports. Turkey’s banks also funnel money to Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

In July, Israeli customs authorities intercepted 16 tons of explosive material used to make rockets on its way from Turkey to the Gaza Strip. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regularly meets with leaders from Palestinian terrorist organizations. In May 2010, Erdogan greenlit a flotilla of ships to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which led to a deadly incident with Israeli forces and a decade-long breakdown in a longstanding Israeli-Turkish diplomatic relationship.

Qatar’s Hamas Ties

Hamas maintains its main office in Doha, where Haniyeh lives most of his time. Besides Iran, Hamas receives a large part of its funding from Doha, reportedly between $360 million and $480 million a year. Qatar uses a third of the subsidy to purchase fuel from Egypt and ship it to Gaza, where Hamas sells it and pockets the revenue. Another third goes to impoverished families, while the final third goes to pay the salaries of Hamas bureaucrats. This support allows Hamas to bankroll social services, therefore maintaining political support and prolonging its grip on power. Qatar’s state-sponsored media channel, Al-Jazeera, has justified Palestinian terrorism, spread antisemitism, and demonized Israel with its global reach.

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