US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reportedly urged the Qatari government to change its relationship with Hamas, particularly in relation to the coverage of the Israel-Gaza conflict by Al Jazeera, according to a report by Axios. Blinken, who visited Doha on October 13th, just days after the escalation of hostilities triggered by Hamas’ incursion into Israel, allegedly made these remarks during a meeting with American Jewish community leaders on Monday.
During his visit, Blinken is said to have asked the Qatari government to alter its public stance towards Hamas. As one example of how this could be achieved, he suggested that they could turn down the volume on Al Jazeera’s coverage, claiming that it is “full of anti-Israel incitement”. However, Blinken did not offer any specific examples of the rhetoric he wanted toned down.
The State Department declined to comment on Blinken’s reported remarks, while the Qatari Foreign Ministry did not respond to Axios’ request for comment. Similarly, Al Jazeera has not yet provided a response.
This comes in the midst of Israel accusing Al Jazeera of being a propaganda mouthpiece for Hamas, leading them to consider banning the network altogether. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat, Israel is currently working on a plan that would allow them to shut out the entire channel if they deem it to be assisting Hamas.
Interestingly, the White House has been relying on Qatar’s relationship with Hamas to negotiate the release of some hostages. Blinken has reportedly expressed his deep appreciation for Qatar’s role in securing the release of two American captives, which occurred last week. The exact details and nature of Qatar’s involvement in the negotiation process have not been disclosed.
The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas resulted in a significant number of casualties on both sides. Approximately 1,400 Israelis were killed, and thousands more were injured during Hamas’ incursion. In response, Israel declared war on Hamas and launched artillery and air strikes on Gaza.
In conclusion, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reportedly requested the Qatari government to change their relationship with Hamas, specifically regarding the coverage of the Israel-Gaza conflict by Al Jazeera. This request comes at a time when Israel is considering banning the network, accusing it of being a propaganda mouthpiece for Hamas. Despite these developments, the White House has acknowledged and appreciated Qatar’s role in negotiating the release of American hostages. The conflict between Israel and Hamas resulted in significant casualties on both sides, with Israel declaring war on Hamas in response to their incursion.