Did Qatari Emir assist Israel in locating senior Hamas leaders?

ACCORDING to reports published by Iran-based Fars News Agency, Qatar may be aiding Israeli security services after the kingdom’s Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s visit to Gaza on 23 October – during which he allegedly distributed low-frequency transmitting ballpoint pens and watches among Hamas leaders, which in turn allowed the Israeli military to make pinpoint missile strikes in recent weeks.

According to the accusations in the report, the signals emitted by the pens and watches were transmitted to Israeli satellites, thus providing the country’s intelligence with information on senior Hamas leaders’ whereabouts. The report also touches upon the presumption that the information on their location was later used to ‘spot’ high-ranked Hamas members and conduct assassinations against them.

Despite Al Thani having no officially confirmed affiliation with Tel Aviv, the report also says that the Qatari Sheik met numerous Israeli leaders in the past and has now set a goal to assert Qatar’s diplomatic clout with Israel.

In a new development, Al Thani urged Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation. Israel will not stop its aggression “unless there is firm resistance like what happened in Gaza and with Lebanon’s Hezbollah in the south,” he said last Sunday.

Military supporter

Qatar’s special forces were instrumental in bringing down the Gaddafi regime in Libya, and the oil-rich Gulf state – together with Saudi Arabia – has been a founding financial and military supporter of the Syrian opposition.

The UN, Human Rights Watch and numerous other NGOs consider Israel to be the occupying power of the Gaza strip, adding that Gaza’s territorial waters and airspace are under the control of Israeli authorities, depriving Gaza of the movement of goods in and out of the city by both air and sea.

Gaza has been under the blockade of the Israeli regime since 2007, causing living standards decline exponentially, increasing levels of unemployment and injustice. The situation is worsened by airstrikes carried out by Israel, often resulting in deaths of citizens.

Israel says that the airstrikes are in self defence against Hamas-launched rocket attacks on civilian centres in Israel.

The recent escalation of the situation in Gaza in the past few weeks has seen more than 130 Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes – including Hamas militants, but also many innocent civilians – and some five Israeli civilians killed by rocket attacks launched from Gaza.