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
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1259 GMT (2059 HKT)
You could be forgiven for thinking no one cares -- or even should care, right now -- about climate change, writes CNN's John Sutter. But you'd be mistaken.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 2132 GMT (0532 HKT)
David Gergen says the White House's war against ISIS is getting off to a rough start and needs to be set right
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
John Sutter boarded a leaky oyster boat in Connecticut with a captain who can't swim as he set off to get world leaders to act on climate change
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1917 GMT (0317 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says making rude use of the Mexican flag on Mexican independence day in a concert in Mexico was extremely tasteless, but not an international incident.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1359 GMT (2159 HKT)
Michael Dunn is going to stand trial again after a jury was unable to reach a verdict; Mark O'Mara hopes for a fair trial.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 2315 GMT (0715 HKT)
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2147 GMT (0547 HKT)
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1927 GMT (0327 HKT)
Laurence Steinberg says the high obesity rate among young children is worrisome for a host of reasons
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1922 GMT (0322 HKT)
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT)
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1501 GMT (2301 HKT)
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0157 GMT (0957 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1958 GMT (0358 HKT)
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 2315 GMT (0715 HKT)
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT