Haniyeh & Amr Moussa, Arab League 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Hamas expressed hope on Sunday that a visit by Arab League
Secretary-General Amr Moussa to the Gaza Strip would pave the way for
the lifting of the four-year-old blockade on the area.
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Moussa said upon his arrival in the Gaza Strip that the blockade must
end. He said that all the Arab countries should support the Palestinians
in their battle against the blockade.
“The process of reconstruction can’t take place while the Gaza Strip is still under siege,” Moussa said. “This will be our next step and we are working to lift the siege.”
Moussa held talks with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and other senior officials from the Islamist movement.
He also visited the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City, where he was briefed by heads of the organization on their efforts to help the local population.
Haniyeh described Moussa’s visit to the Gaza Strip as “historic,” saying it was a step toward breaking the blockade.
Speaking to reporters after a two-hour-meeting at his home in Shati refugee camp, Haniyeh said he also discussed with Moussa ways of ending the crisis between Hamas and Fatah.
Haniyeh said he hoped the Arab League would follow up on its earlier
decision to work toward ending the blockade on the Gaza Strip. He said
that he heard “positive statements” from Moussa in this regard.
Rizka, a political adviser to Haniyeh, said that the visit signaled the
beginning of the end of the blockade. He also called on the Arab League
to fulfill its promise to provide financial aid to Gaza residents.
toured the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City and met with Palestinian
families who lost their relatives and whose houses were damaged during
Operation Cast Lead.
He said that the Arab countries have
allocated financial aid to help rebuild houses that were destroyed
during the Israeli operation.
He added that the money has been
deposited in banks in anticipation of the lifting of the blockade.
top Arab diplomat also urged Hamas and Fatah to end their power
In a related development, the Egyptian authorities have
agreed to allow an Iranian parliamentary delegation to visit the Gaza
Strip, according to Mahmoud Ahmadi, a parliament member in Teheran.
said that he and some of his colleagues were informed on Sunday by the
Egyptians that their request to visit the Gaza Strip through the Rafah
border crossing had been approved.
No date has been set for the
visit, which would be the first of its kind by an official Iranian
Ahmadi said that at least three parliament members
have expressed their desire to be part of the Iranian delegation.
Ramallah, a Palestinian Authority official expressed concern over
increased visits to the Gaza Strip by Arab and Islamic delegations.
official also voiced concern over Moussa’s visit to the Gaza Strip.
official said that such visits boost Hamas and undermine the PA
government in the West Bank.