Oct. 23 - Qatar's emir ends the political isolation of Palestinian leaders Hamas with $250 million in aid and a visit to Gaza. Lindsey Parietti reports.
Qatar's emir walks side-by-side with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The first visit to Gaza by a head of state since 1999, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani's trip ends the political isolation of Palestinian faction Hamas. The emir met with Hamas leaders to inaugurate $250 million in Qatar-funded reconstruction projects. But the boost for Gaza and its economy, crippled by an Israeli blockade of the strip, wasn't welcomed by all. An Israeli official said it was "astounding" Qatar would side with Hamas. (SOUNDBITE) (English) YIGAL PALMOUR, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER SPOKESMAN, SAYING: "No one understands why he would fund an organisation which has become notorious with committing suicide bombings and firing rockets on civilians. By hugging Hamas, the Emir of Qatar is really someone who has thrown peace under the bus." Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 after a brief battle with rival and more moderate leaders Fatah, but Haniyeh denies any intention to establish a separate Palestinian state.