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Qatari Emir Plans to Visit Ramallah

The Qatari Emir, who recently became the first world leader to visit Hamas-controlled Gaza, now plans a trip to Abbas in Ramallah.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/16/2012, 2:27 PM

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani
Reuters

Palestinian Authority officials confirmed to AFP Sunday that Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani will visit Ramallah for his first ever trip to Judea and Samaria later this month.

"The visit of the emir of Qatar has been confirmed but the date of the visit hasn't been determined yet," Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, told AFP.

"The agreement on the visit came during a meeting with president Abbas in Doha last week," Abu Rudeina added.

The emir presumably will bring with him a fat check, similar to the $250 million gift he presented to de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh last month, along with a promise for more.

The visit to Ramallah will be another diplomatic victory for Abbas, who eight years ago embarked on an almost non-stop worldwide circuit to drum up political support after he took over the Palestinian Authority following the death of Yasser Arafat.

Last week, Jordanian King Abdullah II met with Abbas in Ramallah, and a follow-up trip by the Qatari emir would go far to improve Abbas’ image among local Arabs who are tilting towards supporting Hamas.

Abbas and Haniyeh have declared unity between their Fatah and Hamas factions, a move that has allowed Hamas to publicly demonstrate in Judea and Samaria for the first time in years.

The Qatari’s visit will be a sign of support for the unity, which could spark more backing financial and political backing from the Arab world that for years has paid little more than lip service for supporting Abbas.

The Palestinian Authority chairman, for the time being at least, has succeeded in maintaining his image of a diplomat for the peace process while at the same time the PA promotes a “one-state“ solution of an Arab Palestine replacing all of the Land of Israel.