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Khalid Tawalbeh

DOHA: Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani has affirmed that the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip continues to worsen after nearly a month and a half since the Israeli aggression began in the Strip due to the international community's inability to stop the bloodshed and curb the aggression.

Addressing the deeply distressing events unfolding in Gaza during a joint press conference with High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in Doha on Sunday, the Prime Minister said, “During our meeting today, we discussed ways of cooperation between Qatar and the European Union to reach a lasting and peaceful solution to this crisis in all its political and humanitarian dimensions.”

“Our top priority is to achieve an immediate ceasefire and end all reprisal operations and indiscriminate attacks on the Gaza Strip - an end to genocide, starvation, and forced displacement, and lifting the unjust siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for many years, in flagrant violation of international law and humanitarian law and norms,” the PM added.

The PM said this tragic situation, with all the cruelty, horror, and brutality that the word implies, has resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries, coercive mass displacement of hundreds of thousands, in addition to depriving two and a half million Palestinians of water, food, fuel, electricity, and medicine.

“Our world today is witnessing the occupation army blatantly boasting of their destruction of hospitals; their forced evacuations of the sick, the wounded, of doctors, and the internally displaced at gunpoint, while justifying all of this with unproven allegations. Unfortunately, in the past few days, we have seen attacks on all hospitals in the Gaza Strip, and we have also seen their farcical performances around these hospitals, claiming that they are command centres and locations for Hamas,” the PM said.

The PM stressed that what happened in the medical complex in the Gaza Strip, Al-Shifa Complex, which is considered the largest medical complex in Gaza, from the forced evacuations of hundreds of patients, dozens of newborns, and medical staff, along with the thousands of displaced people, is considered a crime.

“Unfortunately, we have not seen the international community speak up to condemn it. There is also a continuation of massacres against civilians, the most recent of which was the massacre that took place at Al-Fakhoora School, run by a United Nations agency, in a manner that shows no respect for laws or international norms,” he added.

The PM called for an international stance to address this issue in accordance with international laws and norms, saying many countries have a double standard regarding what is happening to the brothers in the Gaza Strip.

“Of course, the international community must take a stand and deal with this issue in accordance with international laws and norms. Unfortunately, we see that there is a double standard among many countries regarding what is happening now to our brothers in Gaza. We demand here, at least, that the international community adhere to its foundations in respecting international law, respecting international conventions and treaties, in addition to respecting and protecting civilians in the Gaza Strip, as is the case for civilians anywhere else in the world,” he noted.

The PM praised the call of the EU High Representative for a humanitarian ceasefire.

“We appreciate the High Representative of the European Union for his call for a humanitarian truce and call on Israel to comply with the Security Council resolution and, of course, implement its provisions of opening humanitarian corridors and stopping the war,” the PM added.

The PM pointed out the constant Israeli shelling of all civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip that didn't even spare schools and hospitals. He stressed that the targeting of the headquarters of the Qatar Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza is another example of the lack of attention for such institutions, whose goal is to provide humanitarian support for the brethren in the Strip, in addition to using flimsy excuses for destroying such facilities.

The PM stressed that Qatar had called several times for the formation of international investigation committees to look into Israeli allegations regarding the use of schools and hospitals for military purposes, however, there has been no movement in this direction. In this context, the PM called for the necessity of forming an international committee to investigate crimes committed against civilians in the Gaza Strip.

He said that the headquarters of the Qatar Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza is significant to Qatar and represents Qatar's efforts in the Gaza Strip. However, the building is not more important than the hospital, schools, and shelters that are being destroyed daily and are sheltering tens of thousands of our brethren in the Strip.

The PM expressed his confidence that an agreement on the exchange deal between Israel and Hamas is near, pointing out that there are some simple logistical and practical challenges that are not fundamental and can be overcome.

He stressed the need to stop the war and open humanitarian corridors to bring in aid, noting that people in the Gaza Strip are suffering from hunger and do not have clean water or electricity, in addition to the lack of fuel in hospitals.

For his part, Josep Borrell valued the regional and international efforts made by Qatar in this crisis, indicating that this meeting comes within the framework of discussing the deteriorating regional situation and the necessity to stop the sufferings of the innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip, where pain and suffering are currently concentrated.

He stressed the need to make further joint efforts to overcome the challenges that hinder reaching a solution between the two sides. In this context, Borrell praised the constructive role played by Qatar as a regionally influential country in supporting peace and stability, and which has been able to impose itself as an intermediary and essential country in the world and not just in the Middle East, which confirms that Qatar plays a fundamental role in bringing peace and liberating peoples.

He said today's discussions focused on the issue of the hostages held captive by Hamas since Oct. 7, with Qatar playing a facilitating and essential role in efforts to release them. In this context, he called for the "unconditional" release of the hostages and to allow the Red Cross and Red Crescent to reach them.

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