facebook
twitter
search
search

Qatar Emir's Gaza visit boosts Hamas

Oct. 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM
| License Photo

GAZA, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- In the first visit by a head of state to Gaza since Hamas took control, the emir of Qatar pledged to double funds earmarked for construction.

Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani received a red carpet welcome Tuesday as he entered Gaza from Egypt at the Rafah crossing, Palestinian media reports said.

The Qatari emir announced plans to increase financial aid to the Hamas in Gaza from $245 million to $400 million, the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA reported.

Hamas gained control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after winning a majority of seats in the 2006 Palestinian elections and violently ousting Fatah officials from the enclave.

The funds will be used to build two new neighborhoods, one for released prisoners, a youth rehabilitation center, roads and infrastructure, and to renovate existing hospitals, Israel Radio said.

Accompanied by his wife and a large delegation, al-Thani was greeted by Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and other senior Hamas officials. No Palestinians affiliated with Fatah were present.

Hamas hailed the visit as a breakthrough, ending "the political isolation of the government and opens the door to break the siege," the British daily The Guardian said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the visit but did not travel to Gaza to greet the Qatari dignitary in person, Israel Radio said.

Israel criticized the visit.

"It is funny that Qatar's ruler intervenes in the internal Palestinian conflict and chooses to support Hamas," Ynetnews.com quoted an unnamed Israeli Foreign Ministry official as saying.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
'Serial stowaway' arrested again at Chicago's O'Hare, Midway airports
Maine man dead after shooting firework off head, police say
Greeks vote overwhelmingly to reject creditors' bailout
Russian resupply spacecraft docks onto ISS to deliver needed provisions
Third disturbance in four days erupts at Arizona prison