Qatar’s Push for a Two-State Solution: Essential for Stability in Israel

Requiring Israel to agree to a time-bound, mandatory path to a two-state solution is key to future stability in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Qatar’s Prime Minister said on Tuesday during the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the Palestinians must be the ones to decide if Hamas, which runs Gaza, will continue to play a political role in the future. In addition, he said military strikes will not contain attacks by Yemen’s Houthis on commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea, but an end to the war in Gaza will. Sheik Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani described the current regional situation as a “recipe for escalation everywhere” and said Qatar believes that defusing the conflict in Gaza will stop the escalation on other fronts. “We need to address the central issue, which is Gaza in order to get everything else defused…if we are just focusing on the symptoms and not treating the real issues, (solutions) will be temporary,” he said. Conflict has spread to parts of Middle East since the war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, with groups allied to Iran carrying out attacks in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi group has since November been attacking vessels in the Red Sea, part of a route that accounts for about 12% of the world’s shipping traffic, in what they say is an effort to support Palestinians in the war with Israel. US and British forces have responded by carrying out dozens of air and sea strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen since Friday. Sheik Mohammed said US and British attacks create “a high risk of further escalation and further expansion of” the conflict. “We always prefer diplomacy over any military resolutions,” he said. Without a viable, sustainable two-state solution in Israel and Palestine, the international community will be unwilling to finance the reconstruction of Gaza, Sheikh Mohammed said. “The bigger picture cannot be ignored,” he said, urging the international community to require Israel to agree to a time-bound, irreversible pathway to a two-state solution. “We cannot leave this just at the hand of the Israelis,” he said.