The visit of the emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Thani, has ended the political and
economic blockade on the Gaza Strip, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said
His declaration came during the inauguration of a new housing
project in Khan Yunis together with the visiting emir.
“Today we declare
victory over the blockade through this blessed visit,” Haniyeh
Addressing bin Thani, the Hamas leader added: “Today you have
officially broken the unjust siege imposed on the Gaza Strip by the forces of
repression and darkness.”
Haniyeh revealed that Qatar has decided to
increase its funding of various projects in the Gaza Strip from $245 million to
He said that the housing project, which has been named after the
Qatari emir, will provide homes to 3,000 families.
In addition, Qatar
will invest $15m. in a Palestinian medical center in the Gaza Strip, Haniyeh
He described bin Thani’s visit as a “courageous” act. It was the
first visit of a head of state to the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control over
the area in 2007.
The emir’s visit is seen by many Palestinians as a
diplomatic victory for the Islamic movement and a severe blow to the Palestinian
Addressing Palestinians, the Hamas leader said: “This is your
day of victory. Today, the victory is in the Gaza Strip and tomorrow it will be
in liberated Jerusalem.”
He reiterated the Palestinians’ refusal to give
up “one inch of the land of historic Palestine.”
Bin Thani’s convoy
arrived in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing amid unprecedented
security measures by Hamas and the Egyptian authorities.
Khan Yunis and Rafah, the convoy headed to Gaza City, where the emir laid the
corner stone for a project to renovate the main Salah Eddin highway and other
Later, the Islamic University awarded bin Thani and his
wife, Moza, honorary doctorates in appreciation of their support for the
The president of the university, Jamal Khudari, presented
the emir with a key symbolizing the refugees’ right to return to their original
homes inside Israel, as well as a bottle of olive oil and a box containing “soil
In a speech at the university, bin Thani called on the
Arab countries to participate in the effort to rebuild the Gaza Strip. He said
that should be at the top of the Arab world’s list of priorities.
emir added that his visit would not have been possible were it not for the
“Egyptian revolution and the efforts of President Mohamed Morsi.”
urged Hamas and Fatah to end their dispute and implement the Qatari-brokered
reconciliation accord between the two rival parties.
Bin Thani criticized
Israel for creating new facts on the ground by building in the
The PA leadership, meanwhile, continued to express fear that
the Qatari leader’s visit to the Gaza Strip would “consolidate” divisions among
Some officials in Ramallah expressed outrage over the
visit, saying it would embolden Hamas and further tighten its grip on the Gaza
The PLO Executive Committee, which held a meeting in Ramallah,
urged the Arab countries to refrain from supporting the creation of a separate
Palestinian entity in the Gaza Strip.
Yasser Abed Rabbo,
secretary-general of the PLO, said that creating a separate Palestinian entity
in the Gaza Strip would only serve Israel’s interests. He also urged the Arab
countries to work toward ending the Fatah-Hamas rivalry.