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Hamas angered by Saudi demand for Qatar to cut funding

08 June 2017

"The pressure on Qatar is not to do with Hamas, but it's the fact that it is a successful state that tries to engage in dialogue and it has been very successful in solving issues in the region", says Waleed al-Modallal, head of political science at the Islamic University of Gaza. According to the report, the list was preliminary and the goal of Qatar's request was to shore up US support for Qatar in case of an escalation in the crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the Qatari fear that Saudi Arabia will support a coup in Qatar against the current leader, Sheikh Tamim Althani.

The expulsion comes in a period of diplomatic tensions, as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Maldives, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates have all cut ties with Qatar, blaming Doha for inflaming regional conflicts and for supporting terrorism.

Although the severing of Qatari funds to Hamas would be "fine in terms of diminishing the amount of sophisticated weaponry [reaching Gaza]", he said, "the last thing Israel wants is a blow up there because what is likely to happen is that the jihadists [in the Sinai Peninsula] who have been kept out would gain control".

Jordan also announced that it will downgrade its diplomatic representation in Qatar, and asked the Qatari ambassador to leave. He said Turkey, which has always been an ally of Hamas, would find it "very difficult" to fill the financial void should Qatar withdraw support because of its own "economic constraints and priorities".

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Hamas spokesmen have not responded to the deterioration in ties between Qatar and the Arab states.

Hamas then had also denied the Israeli accusation.

In a sign that Hamas is rapidly reassessing what the regional shifts mean, its new leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, is now in Egypt for meetings.

The Gaza Strip has been run by Hamas since it seized power from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party in 2007.

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In a statement on its website, Hamas said the party felt "deep regret and disapproval" at the Saudi statement.

The source in Hamas confirmed the denial and said that the request was reduced only to stopping actions that would lead to attacks against Israel.

Equally, he said, Hamas is unlikely openly to kick up a fuss so as not to compound the pressure Qatar is under.

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Hamas angered by Saudi demand for Qatar to cut funding