The emir of Qatar is expected to visit Ramallah for the first time at the end of December and meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Abbas’s spokesperson said on Sunday.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani paid a historic visit to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in October, making the Persian Gulf monarch the first head of state to enter the enclave since the Islamist group seized power in 2007.
In a speech at Gaza’s Islamic University, Al Thani urged Hamas and the rival Fatah faction — led by Abbas — to resolve their differences and reunite.
“Why are you staying divided?” he asked in October. “There are no peace negotiations, and there is no clear strategy of resistance and liberation. Why shouldn’t brothers sit together and reconcile?”
Al Thani also donated $400 million to the Gaza Strip for financing the construction of massive infrastructure projects, including three roads, a hospital and a new town that will bring thousands of jobs to the impoverished territory.
It was not clear whether al-Thani’s upcoming meeting with Abbas was meant to facilitate reconciliation efforts between the two Palestinian factions.
Al Thani’s visit will be the second visit by an Arab head of state since the PA was granted nonmember observer state status by the UN General Assembly in November. Jordan’s King Abdullah was in Ramallah last week.