DOHA // Qatar's emir reaffirmed his country's support of Hamas yesterday, saying that Israel seemed to fear a Palestinian state more than the Islamist movement in Gaza.
"We support the Palestinian people of Gaza, whom Israel does not like. But Israel now considers that the establishment of a Palestinian state is more dangerous than Hamas," Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani told Al Jazeera.
In August Israel expressed its anger with Qatar over the emirate's growing ties with Gaza's rulers. "We are angry with Qatar because it supports Hamas," the foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
The European Union and the United States have blacklisted Hamas as a terrorist group.
Qatar announced it was severing ties with Israel after the Israel's 22-day assault on Gaza, which began at the end of December 2008.
But although the head of the Israeli delegation in Doha was ordered to leave, the Qatari authorities allowed the delegation's offices to remain open in order not to totally end the relationship.
In March, however, Israel took steps to cut all remaining ties and shut down the delegation's offices.
Israel is also angry with Qatar over the legal and political support it has been providing to the Palestinian leadership in its bid for UN membership in September.