News / Middle East

Qatar's Leader Visits Gaza

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, right, and Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, left, during Emir's  visit to Gaza Oct. 23, 2012.
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, right, and Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, left, during Emir's visit to Gaza Oct. 23, 2012.
VOA News
Qatar's emir received a hero's welcome in the Gaza Strip Tuesday when he became the first head of state to visit the Palestinian territory since Islamist Hamas militants took control in 2007. 
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh greeted Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on a red carpet after the Qatari leader crossed over from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday. 
In a visit lasting several hours, Sheikh Hamad inaugurated a Qatari aid program to help Gaza rebuild from the damage caused by an Israeli offensive against Hamas in 2008.  The program includes a new housing development to be named in his honor in the southern city of Khan Younis. 
The Hamas leader also praised the Qatari emir for breaking what he called the "political and economic blockade imposed on Gaza by the forces of injustice." 
Sheikh Hamad's visit marks a diplomatic boost for Hamas, which is shunned by Western powers which see the rival West Bank government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the legitimate representative of the Palestinians.
Shortly after the emir left Gaza, Israeli air strikes killed three Hamas militants who Israel says were about to fire rockets into its territory.  Earlier Tuesday, a Palestinian terrorist bomb seriously wounded an Israeli soldier patrolling the border with Gaza.

  • Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, left, and Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, right, arrive for the corner-stone laying ceremony for Hamad, a new residential neighborhood in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip October 23, 2012.
  • Palestinian Hamas security officers guard Gaza's main road as they wait for the convoy of the Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani to arrive in Gaza City, October 23, 2012.
  • Qatar's First Lady Sheika Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned attends a welcome ceremony upon her arrival at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, southern Gaza Strip, October 23, 2012.
  • Members of Hamas security forces sit between posters depicting senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (L) and Qatar's Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (R) in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip October 22, 2012.
  • Palestinian tailors Eyad Absi, left and Salama Ashour make Qatari flags in a shop for Tuesday's official visit of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in Gaza City, October 21, 2012.
  • A Palestinian worker walks behind posters of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, left, and Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, right, in preparation for the upcoming visit to Gaza at Palestine Monday, Oct. 22, 2012.
  • The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani waves to crowds as he sits next to Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh following a welcome ceremony in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, October 23, 2012.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Madaline from: France
October 24, 2012 11:13 AM
hey Bone head, we need Israel to inflict some real harm on these repulsive Arabs... who should have more "backbone"? we need to encourage Israel - they are fighting for our freedoms, we have grown too effete - too accommodating - too multicultural... we stand in need for others to fight for our freedoms... it is an undignified posture to be in - I agree - but when Israel fights our fight to preserve our freedoms we ought to encourage them... at the very least...!!!

by: Hi Bone from: Sweden
October 24, 2012 9:24 AM
the World has changed since 2009... Israel is at the forefront of the defense of our civilization... we wish you could show a bit more backbone...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.

Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More