Qatar calls for fair treatment of Palestinians ahead of crucial UN move

September 11, 2011

Qatar has called for the “equitable” treatment of the Palestinians at the United Nations and urged the international organisation to help them set up their independent state when they declare its establishment at the UN General Assembly this month.

In an interview with Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster, the Emir, Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, said that Israel must read the changes sweeping the Arab world and realise that the political scene had changed and that it was now in the midst of emerging Arab democracies.

Shaikh Hamad said that Qatar supported the Palestinian people in Gaza, a fact with which Israel was not satisfied.

“The Hamas government came to power through elections in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Hence, it is considered a legitimate government. And as such, even if we are supporting Hamas, we are backing a legitimate government.”


In remarks on the situation in Libya, Shaikh Hamad denied that Qatar had any ambitions in the North African Arab country.

“All know that Qatar is rich and is in no need of others’ help. We interfered there for the sake of the Libyan people. In the meantime, it is unthinkable that the Libyan people would allow their wealth to be plundered or exploited,” he said, quoted by Qatar News Agency (QNA).

Commenting on Syria’s reported refusal to receive an Arab League delegation, the Emir said there was no official confirmation of such press reports from Damascus and that the Arab League secretary general would be heading to Damascus with an Arab initiative.

Wrested power

Shaikh Hamad said that the conference of the Contact Group on Libya, recently held in Paris, came on the heels of the liberation of most of Libyan towns and after the National Transitional Council (NTC), the revolutionaries and the army had wrested power in most of those areas.

“I think the most important aspect of the Paris conference was the presence of some 60 countries, a number higher than what we had expected, including ones that hesitated in recognising the NTC.”

The conference, he said, discussed how to help unblock Libyan assets abroad in order to help the Libyan people pursue the process of development.

“The Libyans have already started working out plans to carry out projects for schools and hospitals.” Commenting on the presence of Muslim extremists among the rebels as reported in the West, Shaikh Hamad said “the issue of the extremists, Al Qaeda or Jihadists, whatever the name, was there.”


“However, the question is whether the revolutions would lead to democracy. The extremism of those is the result of the repressive governments or dictators, but with popular participation extremism could give way to civil life and society. I know that in Libya those taunted as extremists believe in civil society, pluralism and democratic life.”

Commenting on Doha’s participation in the international campaign to topple the Libyan former leader, Shaikh Hamad said that he wished that Qatar, in co-operation with all other Arab countries, was capable of taking the decision without involving non-Arabs.

“Qatar has sympathised with the Libyan people who appealed to it, through direct contacts or through the media, for help to end their plight. Qatar felt it was necessary to respond, with the help of any group.”

He said that Qatar first acted in co-operation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) before the issue was shifted to the Arab League and later moved to the UN Security Council.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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