Gaza set for Qatari Emir's visit
Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, who is expected on a visit here on Monday, will become the first Arab head of state to tour Gaza after the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas took over Gaza in the year 2007.
Essam Al Deeles, personal adviser to Gaza Prime Minister Esmail Haniya, said: “The government is geared up to welcome Shaikh Hamad and his wife.”
Gaza has been decked out with banners to welcome the Emir and to thank Qatar for its political and financial support to the impoverished Strip.
For the last one week the government has been making preparations to make his visit a success.
Ayman Al Batnigi, the police spokesman, said security arrangements have been made and national guards members will accompany the Emir and his entourage from the minute they arrive until they leave the Strip.
Al Deeles added thatthe rebuilding projects will start soon after the Emir lays the foundation stone for these projects.
A Palestinian source mentioned that the Emir has established five projects in the Strip while his wife Shaikha Mouza Bint Nasser Al Misned will oversee charity projects coming through Al Fakhoura organisation.
Many believe that this will open a new era to rejevunate the economy in the Strip .
Hassan Ali Al Baker, an economist, said these projects will create jobs and reduce unemployment in the Strip, which in turn will boost the economy.
Qatar has pledged half a billion dollars in assistance to the Strip over the coming three years to rebuild infrastructure destroyed in Israeli attacks in 2009.
The Islamic movement’s leadership hoped the Emir’s presence will provide a boost to its legitimacy after years of living under the Israeli blockade and diplomatic isolation by much of the international community.
Doha announced it had opened its first diplomatic office in the Palestinian enclave and at least around $500 million (Dh1.8 billion) for building roads, bridges and thousands of homes, including 1,000 housing units in a development named Hamad City.
According to the construction union, Gaza needs about 3,500 homes because of Israel’s devastating three-week war that began in December 2008 and killed as many as 1,400 Palestinians.