Jolie Bain Pillsbury

Qatar, Kick Hamas Out Now!

Photo taken by Jolie Bain Pillsbury, October 28, 2024 Qatar Embassy Washington D.C.

It is now March 28, 2024. It has been 175 days since Carmel Gat, a beautiful young woman was kidnapped on October 7, 2023. She and 133 others are still held hostage by Hamas. Since November 30th 2023, no hostages have been released by Hamas despite numerous offers of prisoner exchanges. Israel has also offered humanitarian pauses following the release of additional hostages. While the suffering of the hostages and the people of Gaza continues month after month, the leaders of Hamas, unconcerned, continue to live in luxury in Doha funded and supported by the government of Qatar.

This morning, I walked across the Potomac River from my home in Northern Virginia to the Qatar Embassy in DC. As I walked, I considered the deferential treatment of Qatar by our administration. Three days ago, President Biden refused to veto a UN Security Resolution detrimental to Israel. This action eased the pressure on Hamas to release the hostages and certainly sent no signals to Qatar to take action against Hamas. It is not a good look when Hamas greets an action by the US at the UN Security Council with joy.

While the administration has freely criticized Israel over the past few months there has been no criticism of Qatar. Shielded by their Qatar funders and supporters, the leaders of Hamas walk freely in Doha. In Gaza the terrorists continue to operate out of the terror tunnels funded by Qatar. Adding to the impression that the US supports the regime that supports Hamas, on January 3, 2024, it was reported that this administration guaranteed the operation of the El Udeid Air base in Qatar for another ten years.

There are 8,000 US military on this base. Presumably Qatar is receiving some security, military, and economic advantages for this giant facility hosting a large US fighting force. This is a decade long commitment, seemingly with no quid pro. Meanwhile, in stark contrast there are discussions by the Administration to cut off or impose conditions on the military aid for Israel that is part of a commitment made in 2008 and passed by Congress. This is all the more maddening since the military aid Israel needs is because of Qatar’s funding of Hamas.

Qatar could end this war tomorrow and bring the hostages home by withdrawing its support of Hamas. The question arises, why isn’t our administration using its giant military presence in Qatar and its economic influence at home and abroad to leverage Qatar?

What a strange world the President and his advisers must live in. They have taken up the cudgel of public opinion against Israel, a beleaguered ally. One that is fighting Iran’s proxy war in a neighborhood made ever more dangerous by the actions of this administration. Prior placation of Iran and the denial of the terrorist intent and capabilities of the Houthis by this administration has not worked out well for either Israel or for the stability of the entire region. Those actions are as unfathomable as the deference being shown to Qatar while simultaneously joining in the opprobrium of Israel’s conduct.

Israel is fighting a much more difficult war than it otherwise would in attempts to mitigate harm to the population. Israel is willing to “pause” military action once the hostages have been released. Israel did pause their military action when a number of hostages were released in late November, 2023. It was Hamas who broke the truce, resumed fighting and ended the exchange of hostages. That Israel is still willing to offer both prisoners and a pause in the fighting is a testament to their commitment to the two goals of this war: release of the hostages and defeat of Hamas.

The crowd I joined outside the Qatar Embassy was there to draw attention to the complicity of Qatar in both building the terrorist capacity of Hamas in Gaza and in continuing to support Hamas to this day. At our gathering, a young Israeli American spoke. He had been working as a Congressional staffer on October 7th. Called up by the IDF, he immediately returned to Israel to join his unit and spent 130 days at war in Gaza and the North. He testified to finding bundles of money in Hamas’s hideouts and tunnels. The cash they found was still in unopened wrappers with the seal of Qatar on them.

The Rabbi who spoke next reminded us that Qatar has the power do good in the world. He called on the Qatar government to stop allowing the leaders of Hamas to live in unfathomable luxury, untouched by the disaster they have created, a disaster for the people of Gaza and for the hostages still in captivity. We in the crowd chanted, “Bring them Home, Now!” We also could and should have been shouting “Qatar, Kick Hamas Out, Now!”

About the Author
Jolie Bain Pillsbury, Ph D. Retired, residing in Arlington, Virginia. Public and private sector career focused on producing measurable results through the development of cross-sector collaborative leadership skills. Author of “The Theory of Aligned Contributions” and “Results Based Facilitation: Books 1 & 2.
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