Israel and Qatar have been growing closer over the last few months as a result of their joint efforts to save Gaza from collapse and prevent another war between Hamas and Israel. Still, the relationship is something of a paradox. In the past, Israel regarded Qatar as a country that aided Hamas, a terrorist organization. (Much to Israel’s chagrin, the former ruler, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani funneled huge amounts of money to Gaza). But now Israel is pleased that the current ruler, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is providing Gaza with financial support. While Qatar is continuing its tradition of aiding the Hamas regime, it is also helping Israel avoid another war. In that way, everyone benefits from the wealth and munificence of the tiny emirate.
Israel’s political and security apparatus considers Qatar’s aid activities a lifesaver with the potential to prevent or at least delay another war between Gaza and Israel. Nevertheless, the two countries' increasing closeness has been kept discreet, largely out of fear that Egypt might see it as a way of subverting the boycott it imposed on Qatar in 2017. This discretion explains why a meeting that took place in Larnaca last June between the Qatari emissary to Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi, and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was not covered by the press. News of the meeting was only revealed by Israel’s Channel 10 some two months later. According to the report, Qatar committed to investing $350 million to advance certain projects in the Gaza Strip and to pay the salaries of government employees there.