The Mossad and Qatar have a conflict of interests. On the one hand, Mossad Chief David (Dadi) Barnea, made Doha his second home in the past few weeks during his quest to bring back the kidnapped Israelis who are held hostage in Gaza. On the other hand, senior Hamas officials, whom he is supposed to eliminate, are currently hiding in Qatar under the protection of the local government – the same government that assists in releasing Israeli hostages.
How do you reconcile this dissonance? The Mossad likely cannot eliminate senior Hamas figures in Qatar and will need to devise strategies to compel them to leave for other countries.
Since the massacre in the Israeli Gaza-adjacent communities on October 7th, I wrote that Mossad began organizing the elimination of senior Hamas members. The mechanism and thought process are expected in advance. Since Mossad established its assassination unit, following the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, the algorithm has been functioning seamlessly.
Once again, the algorithm is operational. The Mossad appears to have established a dedicated team with the task of gathering intelligence before executing operations against the senior leadership of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad residing abroad. Such an assassination operation could take anywhere from a few isolated months if the target was already under surveillance before October 7, or years if the target is a new addition to the tracking list.
Moreover, it can be assumed that since October 7, senior members of these organizations, some of whom likely reside in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, South and Central America, or Gulf states, have entered an ״assassination preparedness״ phase. In other words, they are on the run from the Mossad and Western intelligence agencies as part of a collaborative effort with Israel.
As mentioned at the outset, at least concerning Hamas, some of the organization's senior members find refuge in Doha and Ankara. These two locations pose significant challenges for Mossad operations, both politically and operationally.
Both countries, Qatar and Turkey, maintain extensive relations with Israel. Israeli imports from Turkey reach billions of shekels annually, and ties with Doha have persisted since 2006, particularly concerning the challenge posed by Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Qatar is considered one of the leading countries in its relations with Islamic terrorist organizations worldwide, both in terms of negotiating hostage releases and establishing connections with such groups during crises.
It can be assumed that as long as all efforts vis-a-vis Qatar to return the hostages have not been exhausted, senior Hamas figures will receive protection in Doha. Even afterward, it is plausible to assume that part of the undisclosed agreement with Israel, withheld from the public due to internal political considerations and for personal reasons concerning Barnea, includes a clause allowing senior Hamas members to continue living contentedly – as long as they remain within the borders of Qatar.
In other words, Qatar is expected to become an open-air prison for senior Hamas figures. If they decide to venture beyond its borders, the Mossad will do everything in its power to reach them.