President Barack Obama on Tuesday will meet with the leader of Qatar, a country long accused of supporting terrorism.
The White House meeting was scheduled even as Obama has refused meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he is in Washington exactly one week later, citing the proximity to Israeli elections.
In its announcement Friday, the White House said Obama and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani would work to further the “longstanding partnership” between the two countries and “our shared interest in supporting stability and prosperity in the Middle East.”
While Qatar has allowed coalition forces to use its al-Udeid air base for airstrikes against Islamic State targets, its approach to Islamist terrorism has not been quite that clear-cut.
The Times of Israel noted that in 2012, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who was then the Qatari emir, was the first head of state to visit Gaza once it fell to Hamas rule.
The Israeli government has lambasted Qatar for supporting terrorism and for allowing Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to use Qatar as his base.
Former Israeli national security adviser Yaakov Amidror told the Times of Israel in July that Qatar continues to fund Hamas’s terror infrastructure, though the emirate denies that charge.