Palestinian leaders to meet Qatar's emir on Gaza

Ahram Online , Thursday 21 Aug 2014

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas' head of politburo Khaled Meshaal to discuss the situation in Gaza with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (Photo: Reuters)

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas' head of politburo Khaled Meshaal in Doha to discuss the situation in Gaza, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on Thursday.

"The tripartite meeting will tackle the latest developments in the coastal enclave and the Palestinian territories in general, along with means of supporting the Palestinian people against the Israeli brutal offensive," the agency stated.

Qatar hosts a number of Islamist figures from across the Middle East – including Meshaal – and enjoys close relations with their movements. Last July – before the start of the Cairo talks – Abbas visited Qatar and Turkey in a bid to seek their help to persuade Hamas to accept an Egyptian ceasefire proposal, for both states enjoy good relations with the Islamist movement.

Israel and Palestinian factions have blamed each other for the collapse of an Egyptian-sponsored 24-hour truce late Tuesday which led to the resumption of armed conflict.

Prior to that, Egypt brokered two 72-hour truce agreements and a five-day ceasefire in a bid to allow more time for negotiations from both sides to reach common ground. However, no Palestinian-Israeli agreement for a ceasefire has been reached so far.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday morning, Egypt's foreign ministry expressed "deep regret" over the resumption of armed confrontations between Palestinian factions and Israel in the warn-torn Gaza Strip.

Cairo warned that the new clashes would "definitely lead to more casualties and injuries among innocent civilians."

"Egypt maintains its bilateral connections with both Palestinian and Israeli sides to urge them to accomplish a new ceasefire deal and continue their positive involvement in the negotiations," the statement said, stressing the importance of building on what has been achieved in the indirect talks so far.

"The aim is to open room for reaching a deal that insures a permanent ceasefire and achieves the interest of the Palestinian people, especially in terms of Gaza's reconstruction and the opening of crossings."

Arab League chief Nabil El-Arabi accused Israel on Wednesday of "blocking" all attempts to end the Israeli offensive.

"Israel is blocking any kind of agreement leading to calm" in Gaza, El-Arabi told reporters. "The Arab League wants to reach a permanent truce as soon as possible," he said before flying to Geneva for a meeting with the International Committee of the Red Cross to demand protection for Palestinian civilians.

At least 2,058 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israelis, mostly soldiers, have been killed since Israel's offensive on Gaza began on 8 July.


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