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What Israel wants from Qatar

By signing an arrangement with Hamas, and meeting Qataris, Israel opens the door for Qatari and Iranian influence in the Gaza Strip, and even in the West Bank.

It’s too soon to tell whether the ongoing negotiations with Hamas will yield an agreement, or rather an "arrangement," between Israel and the organization that features prominently on the West’s list of terrorist groups. For now, the Israel-Hamas (indirect) contacts have resulted in a rare agreement between the radical Israeli right headed by Naftali Bennett, the leader of HaBayit HaYehudi, and the head of the center-left opposition, Knesset member Tzipi Livni. Bennett warned, “The terrorists will learn that terror pays, and Israel’s deterrence will be harmed.” Livni said the one thing Israel must not do is send a message to Hamas indicating that “we pay those using violence against us and shooting at us.”

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, bolstered the criticism by these polar opposites in a sermon he delivered Aug. 21 in the Gaza Strip. “This is the result of your determined stand and your struggle,” the Palestinian leader told the Palestinians regarding the emerging deal. He then pledged, “The Palestinian resistance organizations will maintain their status as the shield and defenders of the Palestinian people.” Haniyeh insisted that his organization was not paying a political price for the deal that would bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, and declared that the “ultimate deal” US President Donald Trump promised to make between Israel and the Palestinians was “clinically dead.”

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