Coons to Qatar: You need to do more to pressure Hamas

The Democratic lawmaker tells JI he has reached out to the ambassador, sheikh and FM

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 28: Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) speaks during a news conference following a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Democrats at the U.S. Capitol November 28, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) has pushed Qatari officials to increase pressure on Hamas to reach a deal to release the hostages held in Gaza, the lawmaker told Jewish Insider on Tuesday.

“I have reached out directly to the ambassador, to the sheikh, to the foreign minister, to say, ‘You need to do more to pressure Hamas to get to the table, to get a hostage deal.’ I know our president has applied more pressure,” Coons told JI. 

Coons signed a bipartisan joint statement last month saying that Qatar should expel Hamas leadership if negotiations fail, indicated he found a new bill, which calls for a review of Qatar’s status as a major non-NATO ally, premature.

“Whether we’re at that step” of revoking major non-NATO ally status — “that strikes me as what you do when they demonstrably refuse to do anything substantive. But I think it’s constructive that members are discussing that,” Coons said.

The bill, introduced by sens. Ted Budd (R-NC), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rick Scott (R-FL), seeks to end Qatar’s financial support for terrorist groups and calls on the Gulf nation to expel or extradite Hamas leadership.

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