Qatari premier warns of massive destruction, says 'Gaza is not there anymore'

A military confrontation in the Mideast waterways 'will not contain' the attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels, warns Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani


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This photograph taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing over Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment on Tuesday. — AFP
This photograph taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing over Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment on Tuesday. — AFP

Published: Tue 16 Jan 2024, 2:41 PM

Last updated: Tue 16 Jan 2024, 2:42 PM

Qatar’s prime minister offered stinging criticism of Israel and the international community on Tuesday over the ongoing Israeli war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who also serves as Qatar’s foreign minister, said a two-state solution was required to end the conflict and warned that Hamas’ October 7 attack and the Israeli response showed the region could not go back to the way it was before.

“Gaza is not there anymore. I mean, there is nothing over there,” he said, speaking in Davos, Switzerland. "It’s carpet bombing everywhere.”

He also brought up the ongoing tensions in the West Bank, which has seen Palestinians killed as well by Israeli security forces, and urged for an end to Palestinian divisions.

"We cannot have a two-state solution without having a government and politicians in Israel who believe in coexisting together side by side peacefully and we cannot have all this ongoing without ending this war,” he said.

He warned that a military confrontation in the Mideast waterways “will not contain” the attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels who on Monday fired a missile, striking a US-owned ship just off the coast of Yemen in the Gulf of Aden.

“What we have right now in the region is a recipe of escalation everywhere,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

Meanwhile, The UN secretary-general says Gaza faces “the long shadow of starvation” and the risk of disease outbreaks because of barriers to delivering vital aid.

Antonio Guterres did not mention Israel by name in his remarks on Monday, but blamed the inability to meet Gaza’s growing humanitarian needs on widespread bombardment, barriers to entering the territory and restrictions on distribution inside of it – all under Israel’s control.

He said he was “deeply troubled by the clear violation of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing.”

Israeli officials have denied hindering aid delivery, saying the U.N. needs to provide more workers and trucks.

But Guterres said the UN and its partners “cannot effectively deliver humanitarian aid while Gaza is under such heavy, widespread and unrelenting bombardment.” He pointed to the deaths of 152 UN staffers in Gaza since the start of the war, “the largest single loss of life in the history of our organization.”

He called for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire and the release of all hostages captured by Hamas in its October 7 rampage into southern Israel, which triggered the war.

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