Qatar Says It Is Reviewing Its Mediator Role as Israel-Hamas Talks Stall

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Qatar’s prime minister has said that his government is reviewing its role as a key mediator between Israel and Hamas after criticism by U.S. and Israeli officials, who have urged it to exert more pressure on the Palestinian armed group to reach a deal.

“We have seen insults against our mediation, and its exploitation for the sake of narrow political interests,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, the Qatari premier, said at a news conference this week. “This has caused Qatar to comprehensively review that role.”

In late March, a flurry of shuttle diplomacy involving Israel, Hamas and mediators including the United States had raised hopes for a new cease-fire deal in the war in Gaza. But those efforts appear to have reached a dead end for now, according to Israeli and Hamas officials.

It was not immediately clear that the Qatari prime minister’s comments would mean any change in the country’s role. Qatari mediators have remained in contact with Israeli representatives and have not changed their approach in recent days, said an Israeli official familiar with the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive deliberations.

Qatar, a small Persian Gulf nation, has carved out an influential position as a mediator that can shuttle between Western countries and armed groups like Hamas and the Taliban. It hosts much of Hamas’s political leadership and has helped broker cease-fires during previous escalations in Gaza, including last November.

Since the war broke out in October, Qatari mediators, alongside officials from Egypt and the United States, have sought to broker a deal for a cease-fire in Gaza and the release of hostages held there. Over 100 hostages were released in a weeklong truce that began in late November.

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