Qatar Shelves Israel Office Opening

The Persian Gulf state of Qatar has decided to postpone opening its trade office in Tel Aviv because of what it sees as the hard-line political stance of the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In an interview with the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani explained the decision, saying that Netanyahu “does not have a strategy for peace.”

In April, Qatar and Oman became the first Gulf states to establish trade ties with Israel.

The move, seen as a first step toward creating full diplomatic links with the Jewish state, came in the wake of the previous Labor government’s accords with the Palestinians.

After Netanyahu took office in June, Arab leaders threatened to cool their ties with Israel if he did not implement the signed accords.

Syria this week called on Arab states to adopt a united position against Israel because of what it described as the Netanyahu government’s intransigence in dealing with the Palestinians.

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