The United States and European Union have designated Hamas a terrorist organization; and its militant arm runs the Gaza Strip. But some may not realize the group has a political office operating in Doha, Qatar – established in 2012 as a means to open a channel of communication.
Qatar also invited the Taliban to open its political office in 2013 – and this oil rich Gulf nation has become the de facto middle man for all negotiations between warring parties. They have been key to an impending deal to release Israeli hostages from the Gaza strip and a temporary cease fire.
Interviewing Hamas’ political leadership involves a lot of security checks, including by the Qatari military, and in this part of the world, the waiting is often accompanied by tea. Lots, and lots of tea. In this case, we were also served Nescafe cappucino, and the local equivalent of Hostess brand Hohos – cylindrical chocolate swiss rolls stuffed with vanilla cream.