by WorldTribune Staff, November 28, 2016
Israel’s naval blockade and internal tension between Palestinian factions could make the Gaza Strip an easy “launching pad” for recruiters from Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), a Qatari official said.
Foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said in an interview in Doha on Nov. 27 that a blockade imposed on Gaza’s borders by Israel and Egypt had turned the territory into an “open-air prison.”
“If we will leave them as they are, people from Daesh (ISIL) can recruit them easily. They can start operations from there easily,” he told Reuters.
“It (Gaza) can transform also as a launching pad for extremism and for terrorism … That’s why we need to put an end to this.”
In order to prevent ISIL from gaining a foothold in Gaza, Sheikh Mohammed said not only should the Israeli blockade be lifted, but Hamas and rival Fatah, which controls Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria, must resolve their differences.
“We believe this will be a step for having some relief for the people of Gaza. Forgetting Palestine – postponing it until later – will be much riskier.”
Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is meant to prevent terrorist organization Hamas from smuggling in weapons and explosives. Qatar is a major supporter of Hamas.
The UN has determined that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal.
Reports last year indicated that Qatar halted its financial support for Hamas in order to push for a change in the terror group’s policy against Egypt, which Qatar had just reconciled with.
Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said, however, that the report was completely untrue.