Qatar won’t establish ties with Israel until conflict with Palestinians is resolved: Official

Qatar won’t join Gulf Arab neighbours in establishing diplomatic relations with Israel until its conflict with the Palestinians is resolved, the Qatari Assistant Foreign Minister H E Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater said.

H E Al Khater also suggested in an interview Monday that there may soon be progress toward ending a three-year-old blockade of Qatar by regional states.

"We don’t think that normalization was the core of this conflict and hence it can’t be the answer,” The Minister told Bloomberg. "The core of this conflict is about the drastic conditions that the Palestinians are living under” as "people without a country, living under occupation.”

For the past three years, Qatar has been the target of a diplomatic and commercial blockade by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

The rift has frustrated President Donald Trump’s administration and a new round of US-led mediation was launched two months ago.

The efforts, backed by Kuwait, haven’t yet reached a tipping point, Al Khater said.

"In the past couple of months, there have been messages and messengers going back and forth,” she said. "It’s very early to talk about a real breakthrough,” but "the coming few weeks might reveal something new,” she added, declining to elaborate.

Negotiations have moved beyond the 13 demands the blockading states presented early on as a basis for any resolution, she said. 

"We’re beyond this point,” Alkhater said. "The point we are at is engaging constructively in unconditional negotiations and discussions” that "do not necessarily need to include all parties at once.”

She declined to identify which of the boycotting countries Qatar is talking to. In the past, officials have said priority would be given to mending ties with Saudi Arabia, with which Qatar shares its only land border.

As seen on Peninsula Qatar  Image Credits Peninsula Qatar