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Israel reject Qatari offer to reopen trade office in Doha 18, May 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Qatar.
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Haaretz reports that the Israeli government has rejected two proposals from Qatar to reopen their trade office in Doha.

The Qataris suggested that in return for the reopening of Israel’s office Qatar would undertake several reconstruction projects in the Gaza strip, necessitating the importing of construction materials. The two states began talks some six months ago via the US, France and with direct talks. Also in the proposed agreement was a statement to be given by Israel “expressing appreciation for the emirate’s role and acknowledging its standing in the Middle East.” Something that were it to have transpired, would, I am sure, have caused not insignificant friction between Qatar’s Arab allies, not to mention Iran.

A second similar offer was made some two months ago. President Netanyahu was, it is reported, near to acquiescing to the agreement but balked at the amount of concrete that Qatar wanted to import to Gaza, fearing that some would be diverted to Hamas’ use to build bunkers and reinforced missile launch positions.

Saudi snub Qatar and Oman 5, November 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Oman, Qatar, Russia.
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Al Sharq Al Awsat reports that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince summoned the Foreign Ministers of the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan to his residence for a discussion. Plainly and pointedly missing from this meeting are the Foreign Ministers of Qatar and Oman. Whether this is a deliberate snub is difficult to say. Veteran – if implacably angry – commentator on the region Assad Abu Al Khalil certainly takes this for a snub towards the excluded countries.

Oman and Qatar have the highest levels of Israeli interaction in the Gulf. In Doha there is an Israeli trade office which has been closed since the January Israeli incursion. As for Oman, they too have a (now closed) Israeli trade office in Muscat but there is also an Omani Embassy in Israel and formal diplomatic representation for Israel in Muscat. Both countries also apparently offered to resume relations in return for Israeli movement (or lack thereof) on settlements.

This is, therefore, a perfectly feasible reason or common denominator as to why the two states may have been excluded. Perhaps the UAE are lucky still to have been invited given that the Israeli flag was raised for the first ever time in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago, but their relations still do not really compare to Oman and Qatar’s.

Indeed, at higher levels of the Saudi government, there is believed to be considerable anger remaining from the Qatar-Saudi Arabian conference scuffle in January, with each seeking to hog the limelight and host the summit to get Arab agreement on how to proceed to resolve the recent Israeli invasion.

There are no firm conclusions to be made, only interesting suppositions to be conjured up and – essentially – gossip to be spread.

Qatar not to sell gas to Israel 1, November 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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The Qatar Emir’s economic adviser, Dr. Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, assured a recent television audience that Qatar has no plans to sell gas to the Israeli entity. Perish the thought that mutual trade and cooperation might ever be conducive to promoting understanding or finding a common ground.