Waiting in line to recieve financial assistance from Qatar, in Gaza City. Photo: Al H.m. Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Qatar has informed Israel that it will suspend money transfers to Gaza next month because of Israel's pending plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Western diplomats briefed on the matter tell me.

Why it matters: Qatar transfers money to government employees and poor families in Gaza, which is run by Hamas, as part of an Israel-Hamas ceasefire deal. Suspension of the payments could lead to renewed violence.

  • Qatar will not resume the payments until the situation around possible annexation becomes clearer, the sources say.

The backstory: Israel's government has been debating plans to annex up to 30% of the West Bank as soon as July 1, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping for a green light from the White House to proceed.

Behind the scenes: Qatar has conveyed its message through multiple channels over the past two week, including in a Zoom meeting of donor countries to the Palestinian Authority.

  • The Qatari representative in the meeting stressed that any Israeli annexation step in the West Bank will have consequences.
  • The Western diplomats said his message was directed at senior Israeli officials who were also on the Zoom meeting.

The bottom line: The Qataris are concerned that Israel will implement its annexation plans on July 1 — Netanyahu's deadline — and don’t want to be perceived as enabling Israeli annexation by sending money to keep the peace in Gaza.

Go deeper: Netanyahu privately presents 4 plans for West Bank annexation

Go deeper

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A historic peace agreement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington on Tuesday to commemorate new peace accords with the UAE and Bahrain — the first Arab states in a quarter-century to normalize relations with Israel. The move could have major impacts on the future of the region, including possible compromises on relations with the Palestinians and annexation of the West Bank.

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Kushner expects more countries to normalize with Israel before Palestinian deal

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNN on Tuesday that he expects more Arab countries to follow the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in normalizing relations with Israel before Palestinian leadership agrees to a peace deal.

Why it matters: After hosting a White House signing ceremony on Tuesday that formalized diplomatic ties between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, President Trump told reporters that he expects seven to nine more countries — including possibly Saudi Arabia — to agree to a similar move.

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UAE-Israel treaty states commitment to meeting the needs of Israelis and Palestinians

U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd R), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd L), UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (R) and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani (L) attend a signing ceremony for the agreements on "normalization of relations" reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain at the White House in Washington, United States on September 15, 2020. Photo:
Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates states that both countries are committed to "working together for a negotiated solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will meet the aspirations and needs of both parties."

Why it matters: The Emiratis face criticism from the Palestinians over their peace treaty with Israel. Officials involved in the negotiations on the text of the treaty told me the Emiratis wanted to include language on Palestinians in the document. The Emiratis wanted stronger language, but Israel did not agree.

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