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Qatar mediation for Shalit? 16, May 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Qatar.
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The French satirical and investigative magazine Le Canard Enchaine (like the UK’s Private Eye) reports that the Qatari Prime Minister has, on numerous occasions in recent years, spoken to Israeli President Netanyahu while in Paris about trying to obtain the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israel soldier kidnapped in 2006 by Hamas.

Though unconfirmed, such mediation would be wholly in keeping with Qatar’s profile. Not only have they sought to reestablish relations with Israel on numerous occasions but this type of role is made for Qatar: where they have, more than practically any other Arab states, relations on both sides of the fence and they are also removed enough from the conflict not to be embroiled. To my mind, this kind of example, if indeed it is the case, highlights Qatar’s erudite and mature foreign policy.

I come from the UK where I grew up with the IRA occasionally blowing up chunks of London, Manchester and Northern Ireland. The notion of sitting down with Gerry Adams and his murdering ilk, or indeed hearing his voice without being dubbed on the television, is profoundly disturbing, but needs to be done.