Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the emir of Qatar will be the first head of state to enter the Gaza Strip when he arrives in the region on Tuesday. He will be cutting-the-ribbon on post-Operation Cast Lead reconstruction projects worth over $250 million, according to a source.
The emir will be the first “pro-West” official, Arab or otherwise to go visit Gaza under Hamas rule.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh issued a statement confirming the visit and urging "our people to express their hospitality in welcoming the great visitor of Gaza".
Palestinian and Qatari flags festoon Gaza's streets to welcome the emir and his wife Sheikha Mozah.
Qatar has pledged half a billion dollars in assistance to the Gaza Strip over the coming three years to rebuild infrastructure destroyed in Israeli attacks, according to Bethlehem-based Ma’an News.