Republican Tennessee Congressman Andy Ogles is co-sponsoring legislation that would revoke Qatar’s status as a major non-NATO ally of the United States, unless the Gulf state expels leaders of Hamas, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S.
This move follows revelations that while Gaza faces dire economic conditions, Hamas leaders allegedly enjoy luxurious lifestyles in Qatar.
The bill responds to reports that top leaders of Hamas, who are collectively worth billions, have taken sanctuary in Qatar, frequenting luxury hotels and traveling on private jets. These claims contrast sharply with the poverty experienced by many in the Gaza Strip, over which Hamas has had de facto control since 2007.
The New York Post reported:
Haniyeh, 61, the head of Hamas’s politbureau, was prime minister of all of Palestine following elections in 2006 although he was booted from office a year later.
He continued to rule the Gaza Strip until 2017 before ending up in Qatar.
Haniyeh, a father of 13 who presides over one of the world’s wealthiest terrorist groups, is worth more than $4 billion.
The Hamas big’s son Maaz Haniyeh is known as “the father of real estate” in Gaza for his collection of villas and buildings.
The proposed legislation would alter Qatar's designation, granted just last year, which places it alongside nations such as Israel, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, and Japan as top-tier U.S. allies. Ogles’ bill conditions this status on the removal of Hamas from Qatar, citing the need to ensure U.S. allies do not support or fund Hamas activities.
Qatar, while offering refuge to Hamas leaders, also hosts a significant U.S. military base, underlining the complexity of the relationship. The bill comes amid accusations that Qatar provides substantial funding to Hamas and that the group has received considerable sums from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, with significant contributions from the Biden administration. The Trump administration had previously ceased U.S. contributions to UNRWA over concerns regarding Hamas.
"The United Nations Relief and Works Agency provided Hamas with $380 million since 2021, according to the FDD. Much of that cash came from the Biden administration, which has provided $1 billion to the UNRWA since 2021,” the New York Post reported.
The move by Rep. Ogles signifies a growing pressure within the U.S. to address the financial and logistical support systems that enable Hamas to operate, amidst the ongoing war in Israel.