Skip to main content

Qatar's door open to peace in Gaza

By Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Palestinians in Gaza celebrate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on Tuesday, August 26. After more than seven weeks of heavy fighting, Israel and Hamas agreed to an open-ended ceasefire that puts off dealing with core long-term issues. Palestinians in Gaza celebrate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on Tuesday, August 26. After more than seven weeks of heavy fighting, Israel and Hamas agreed to an open-ended ceasefire that puts off dealing with core long-term issues.
HIDE CAPTION
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
Israel-Gaza crisis
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Khalid Al-Attiya: Isolated, short of food and water, Palestinians in Gaza are desperate
  • He says Gazans need peace pact, humanitarian aid and development funding
  • Al-Attiya: They need an agreement for two states for two peoples, and Qatar can help
  • He says Qatar has helped in tough negotiations before and stands ready to help here

Editor's note: Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah is Qatar's minister of foreign affairs. He previously served as president of the National Human Rights Committee. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

(CNN) -- Israel's monthlong assault on the Palestinians has taken a heavy toll, with some 2,000 Palestinians killed and 10,000 more wounded. Most of these victims were civilians and many of them children, representing just the latest bloody chapter in a tragic history.

During the long decades of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the international community has not fully met or addressed legitimate Palestinian aspirations. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in Gaza. Chronically short of food, water and electricity, and cut off from the outside world by closed borders and blockades, the Palestinians in Gaza are desperate.

Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah
Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah

As an individual who has fought tirelessly for human rights, I cannot ignore their plight, and as a fellow Arab, I cannot ignore this wanton denial of Palestinian rights.

The people of Gaza need three things. First, they need a peace agreement that ends the hostilities and lifts an Israeli siege that has been in place since 2007 and has turned Gaza into what some journalists have called "an open-air jail."

Second, the Palestinians in Gaza need humanitarian aid and funding for development, so they can rebuild their shattered lives, their bombed-out neighborhoods and their fractured communities.

And finally, Palestinians everywhere need a comprehensive agreement that will end the occupation and establish two states for two peoples, allowing Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security. Until a two state solution becomes a reality, the fighting and bloodshed will almost certainly continue. As Qatar has said many times, peace must be achieved through negotiations, with all sides in the conflict represented.

Bridges need to be rebuilt in Gaza
Rafah families rush to bury dead
Will the Gaza ceasefire be extended?

Qatar has already provided humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza and we have pledged to assist with rebuilding efforts once hostilities have ended. But we are also working behind the scenes to facilitate the kind of dialogue that can lead to a lasting peace. Ultimately, Qatar wants to help the Palestinians realize their self-determination by establishing a secure Palestinian state.

Qatar makes no claim to being a major player on the global stage. But beginning in the mid-1990s, our government embraced an open door foreign policy focused on relationship-building and conflict mediation that has benefited both Qatar and the global community. This open door policy has allowed Qatar to serve as a mediator for conversation, cooperation, and the advancement of peace.

With our doors wide open, our capital, Doha, has increasingly become the center of a vibrant, new multicultural nation, with the creation of a knowledge-based economy enshrined as one of the key goals of our 2030 national vision.

It is precisely because we are impartial that we are often approached to mediate and create platforms for dialogue between different factions. In 2008, for example, we were able to broker a peace agreement between the various factions battling for supremacy in southern Lebanon. Later, we played a similar role in Darfur. Over the years we have hosted an Israeli Trade Mission and kept our door open to Western think tanks like the Brookings Institution.

More recently, because of our open door policy, we were able to help negotiate the exchange of an American soldier for five Taliban prisoners. And today we are helping facilitate communication between the United States, the United Nations, our Arab neighbors, Israel and Hamas as the various parties struggle to find a peaceful solution to the violence in Gaza.

In each instance, we feel we have been on the right side of history. But more important, we believe that we have been on the right side of justice, human rights and human dignity. All these qualities and attributes are on trial in Gaza today, and once again, history will judge our actions.

Qatar stands ready to help reconcile differences and advance the prospects for peace. We stand ready to play our part in advancing dialogue and achieving solutions to the seemingly intractable problems confronting the people of the Middle East. Some of these problems, like Gaza, have been years or even decades in the making. But that does not mean they cannot be solved. The bleeding, the suffering and the dying must be stopped.

In Qatar, we will always keep an open door to peace.

Read CNNOpinion's new Flipboard magazine

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2113 GMT (0513 HKT)
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
The Internet is an online extension of our own neighborhoods. It's time for us to take their protection just as seriously, says Arun Vishwanath.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2154 GMT (0554 HKT)
Gayle Lemmon says we must speak out for the right of children to education -- and peace
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Russia's economic woes just seem to be getting worse. How will President Vladimir Putin respond? Frida Ghitis gives her take.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 0639 GMT (1439 HKT)
Australia has generally seen itself as detached from the threat of terrorism. The hostage incident this week may change that, writes Max Barry.
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT)
Thomas Maier says the trove of letters the Kennedy family has tried to guard from public view gives insight into the Kennedy legacy and the history of era.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
Will Congress reform the CIA? It's probably best not to expect much from Washington. This is not the 1970s, and the chances for substantive reform are not good.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 2101 GMT (0501 HKT)
From superstorms to droughts, not a week goes by without a major disruption somewhere in the U.S. But with the right planning, natural disasters don't have to be devastating.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Would you rather be sexy or smart? Carol Costello says she hates this dumb question.
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 2253 GMT (0653 HKT)
A story about Pope Francis allegedly saying animals can go to heaven went viral late last week. The problem is that it wasn't true. Heidi Schlumpf looks at the discussion.
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Democratic leaders should wake up to the reality that the party's path to electoral power runs through the streets, where part of the party's base has been marching for months, says Errol Louis
December 13, 2014 -- Updated 2123 GMT (0523 HKT)
David Gergen: John Brennan deserves a national salute for his efforts to put the report about the CIA in perspective
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Anwar Sanders says that in some ways, cops and protesters are on the same side
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
A view by Samir Naji, a Yemeni who was accused of serving in Osama bin Laden's security detail and imprisoned for nearly 13 years without charge in Guantanamo Bay
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
S.E. Cupp asks: How much reality do you really want in your escapist TV fare?
ADVERTISEMENT