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Posted on: October 24th, 2012 by AlYunaniya Staff No Comments

Qatar’s emir urges Palestinians to unite during historic visit

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photo: UN

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The emir of of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, called for unity between Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah during his historic trip to the Gaza Strip.

‘‘Why are you staying divided?” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said during a speech at Gaza’s Islamic University, where he and his wife Sheikha Mozah were presented with honorary doctorates, according to AP.

“There are no peace negotiations, and there is no clear strategy of resistance and liberation. Why shouldn’t brothers sit together and reconcile, ” he added.

The emir, the first Arab ruler to visit the Gaza Strip since since Israel imposed a siege on Gaza in 2007. met senior Israeli officials, denounced Israel’s policies and praised people in Gaza for standing up to it with “bare chests.”

But he said internal strife had undermined the Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation, adding that reconciliation was most urgent.

Sheikh Hamad has previously sought to mediate between Hamas and Fatah and urged an end to the division based on the Doha and Cairo agreements, and the efforts of Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal.

Thousands lined the streets in Gaza to welcome the Qatari emir Haniyeh declared as a “victory” over the blockade through this historic visit.

Qatar has called the visit a humanitarian gesture, to inaugurate reconstruction projects financed by the emirate. After initially earmarking $250 million for the schemes, Hamas premier Ismail Haniyeh announced the fund now stood at $400 million.

The Qatari investment project aims to rebuild the Gaza Strip, which endured damage during a huge 22-day Israeli military operation in December 2008 and January 2009.

The investment project seeks to build 1,000 homes for poor families in the devastated Khan Younis area in the south of the Strip.

On the other hand, Fatah had urged Palestinians to boycott the emir’s visit, and said it would entrench the division between the West Bank and Gaza, according to Maan news agency.

Fatah’s office in Gaza said it had not been invited to the meet the sheikh by Qatar or Hamas, but Gaza government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said Fatah had rejected an invitation to the welcoming ceremony.

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