Qatar pays millions for Gaza rebuilding
Palestinian Hamas border officers stand near the Egyptian-Gaza border during a protest against Egyptian policies on smuggling tunnels in Rafah. AP photoQatar is to channel goods and materials to rebuild the Hamas-run Gaza Strip via neighboring Egypt, Qatari and Palestinian officials said.
Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi discussed the project in a telephone call with Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah, a spokesman for the Hamas government said Oct. 20. “The blockage of construction materials and equipment for reconstruction projects in Gaza has been completely lifted. That’s what we were informed by the Egyptian president,” Qatar’s ambassador Mohammed al-Emadi told Agence France-Presse, saying the materials would enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
On Sept. 25, the ambassador said Doha was to invest $254 million in Gaza in a project which would involve building roads, housing and infrastructure, as well as agricultural development. Of that figure, $140 million would be invested in building roads, and $62 million would be spent on building housing in northern Gaza, he said.
Aid ship blocked
Meanwhile, Israeli troops commandeered a Gaza-bound ship that tried to break through Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the military said. European lawmakers and other pro-Palestinian activists aboard did not resist, and the Finnish-flagged vessel was diverted to an Israeli port on Oct. 20. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement praising the military for enforcing the blockade, said there “is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza” and accused the activists of trying to “to provoke and slander Israel’s name,” the Associated Press reported.
“If human rights were really important to these activists they would have sailed for Syria. We will continue to protect our borders,” he said.
Ankara slams settlement plan
Ankara has harshly condemned Israel’s approval of a plan to
expand the Gilo settlement by 797 units, underlining that all
settlement activities conducted by Israel on Palestinian territories
violate international law. “Israel’s insistent continuation of its
settlement activities – in violation of international law and despite
all calls by the international community – is jeopardizing the
two-state peace vision,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written
statement released late Oct. 20.
Israel’s Interior Ministry granted final approval for the plans on Oct. 18. In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue building in east Jerusalem. “We are not imposing any restrictions on construction in Jerusalem. It is our capital” Netanyahu said.