Qatari envoy arrives in Gaza amid brewing controversy
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Qatari envoy arrives in Gaza amid brewing controversy

Hamas strongly denies report the Gulf nation is unhappy about terror group’s rapprochement with Egypt

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Qatar's Gaza envoy Mohammad al-Amadi addresses a ceremony in Gaza City in honor of the construction of the new city of Hamad on January 16, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Qatar's Gaza envoy Mohammad al-Amadi addresses a ceremony in Gaza City in honor of the construction of the new city of Hamad on January 16, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube)

The Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip, Muhammad al-Amadi, arrived overnight Monday in the Palestinian enclave, where he is expected to clarify his country’s stance on the ongoing Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation talks between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, Palestinian media reported.

Amadi arrived in the Strip accompanied by four other members of the Qatari committee for the reconstruction of Gaza, the Hamas-linked Palinfo news site reported.

The Qatari envoy, the report said, is expected to attend a ceremony Monday for the launching of services from the Palestinian Wataniya Mobile company. He will reportedly be joined by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad bin Nasser Al Thani, CEO of the Qatari international telecommunications company the Ooredoo Group. Wataniya Mobile is a member of the Ooredoo Group.

Amadi is expected to give Qatar’s blessing for the Palestinian reconciliation process currently underway.

The talks between the two sides are being held under the auspices of Egypt, which is part of a regional group of countries currently boycotting Qatar over the Gulf nation’s support for terror and extremism.

Hamas’s leader Ismail Haniyeh (C-R) meets with Egyptian Intelligence Minister Khalid Fawzi at the latter’s office in Gaza City on October 3, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

An accord was signed between the Palestinian factions in Cairo earlier in October, paving the way for the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority to retake civilian control of the Strip.

On Sunday, the office of Hamas Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar released a strongly worded denial that Sinwar had said Qatar was unhappy with the situation of the reconciliation process.

Sinwar had reportedly said relations with Qatar, a longtime supporter of the Palestinian terror group and a major financier of public projects in Gaza, were “not good,” due to misgivings over Egypt’s role.

The Hamas leader’s office said the report, carried in the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat among others, was “completely untrue.”

In June, Qatar expelled senior Hamas leaders from its territory following pressure from its neighbors to end support for terror groups.

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