Qatar established trade relations with Israel in 1996. In January 2008 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani in Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Some sources have said that a senior figure from Qatar paid a visit to Israel in mid-January 2008 and met with Israeli leaders to discuss the situation in Gaza and the possibility of jump starting stagnant negotiations over the release of Gilad Shalit.
Despite Qatar's support of Hamas, Israeli leaders have maintained direct contact with the emirate. In January 2007, in his last months as vice premier, former President Shimon Peres paid a high-profile visit to the capital city of Doha. Peres also visited Qatar in 1996, when he launched the new Israeli trade bureau there.
Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni also met with the Qatari Emir at a UN conference in 2008. In April 2008, she visited Qatar where she attended a conference and met the Emir, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Oil and Gas.
Qatar National Olympic Committee and the State of Israel co-funded the Doha Stadium in the Israeli Arab town of Sakhnin located in the Galilee region of Israel. The stadium was named after the Qatari city of Doha. The decision by the Qataris to build the stadium in Israel came after a meeting between Member of Knesset Ahmad Tibi and Secretary-General of the Qatar National Olympic Committee Sheikh Saud Abdulrahman Al Thani after Tibi expressed his concern on the conditions for sport in Sakhnin. The involvement of Qatar was to show that relations between the two nations are peaceful and with a similar interest.
In 2010, Qatar twice offered to restore trade relations with Israel and allow the reinstatement of the Israeli mission in Doha, on condition that Israel allow Qatar to send building materials and money to Gaza to help rehabilitate infrastructure, and that Israel make a public statement expressing appreciation for Qatar's role and acknowledging its standing in the Middle East. Israel refused on the grounds that Qatari supplies could be used by Hamas to build bunkers and reinforced positions from which to fire rockets at Israeli cities and towns, and that Israel did not want to get involved in the competition between Qatar and Egypt over the Middle East mediation.
In 2013, Qatar reportedly assisted in an Israeli operation to bring a group of Yemenite Jews to Israel. The claim was made by a Lebanese source. According to the source, 60 Jews fleeing Yemen were allowed to transition from Doha on a flight to Israel.
Israeli leaders harshly criticized Qatar's diplomatic and financial support of Hamas in the wake of Operation Protective Edge, accusing the Qataris of being major sponsors of terrorism. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for the banishment of Qatar-based Al Jazeera journalists from Israel.
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