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Qatari emir slams ‘Judaization’ of Jerusalem in U.N. speech

Jordanian King Abdullah II, speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, called Israel’s capital a ‘flashpoint for global concern’

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani speaks during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the United Nations headquarters on September 19, 2023, in New York City.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani railed against what he called Israel’s “Judaization of Jerusalem” in his address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, as Jordanian King Abdullah II on the same day called the Israeli capital “a flashpoint for global concern.”

Israel “responds to Arab peace and normalization initiatives with more nationalist and ultra-Orthodox intransigence and extremism,” Al Thani said, which is “reflected in government coalitions and further settlement expansion, in addition to the Judaization of Jerusalem, attacks on the holy sites and heavy-handed and draconian measures against the people in Gaza.”

Doha, Al Thani said, “provides extensive political, humanitarian and development support to our brotherly people in Palestine and we also contribute towards rebuilding the Gaza Strip.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that three months ago Qatar halted some $7 million in payments to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, funds that were intended to pay the salaries of civil servants.

Al Thani, whose government earlier this week served as a middleman in the transfer of $6 billion in unfrozen Iranian funds as it seeks to promote its position as an interlocutor in the region, denounced the “intransigence of the Israeli occupation and the rejection by consecutive Israeli governments of any just political solution according to international legitimacy.”

While Al Thani’s 19-minute speech largely focused on regional issues, as well as Doha’s recent hosting of the World Cup, King Abdullah II, who also spoke on Tuesday, dedicated one-third of his speaking time to the Palestinian issue.

The king again called for a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, while describing 2023 as “the deadliest for the Palestinian people in the past 15 years.” A majority of the more than 200 Palestinians killed in clashes with Israel since the start of the year have been identified as members of terrorist organizations including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Abdullah also touted U.N.-funded education programs for Palestinians — which have come under fire for curricula that include incitement and the glorification of terrorism against Jews and Israelis — suggesting that the alternative to the U.N. schools “will be the black flags of terror, hate, and extremism.”

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