Browsing 'sheikha mozah' News

UPDATE | 7:34pm

According to the Reuters, the Islamic University awarded the Emir and Sheikha Moza an honorary doctorate in appreciation of their support for the Palestinians. The university’s president also presented a key to symbolize the refugees’ right to return to their original homes inside Israel, a bottle of olive oil and a box containing “soil of Palestine.”

During his speech at the university, the Emir thanked Egypt for making his visit possible and criticized Israel for continuing its settlement-building program, Reuters reports.

UPDATE | 7:23pm

During a speech at Gaza’s Islamic University today, Sheikh Hamad urged Hamas and rival faction Fatah to reconcile.

AP reports:

“Why are you staying divided?” he said. “There are no peace negotiations, and there is no clear strategy of resistance and liberation. Why shouldn’t brothers sit together and reconcile?”

Despite his remarks, the Emir has caught flak for not visiting the West Bank, where Fatah controls the Palestinian Authority.

Here, Al Jazeera questions Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, about Abbas’ lack of participation in the visit.

UPDATE | 4:47pm

Qatar has increased its funding for infrastructure development in the Gaza Strip from $254 million to $415 million, Qatar News Agency reports.

According to QNA, that money would be spent on five main projects:

  • Hamad Residential Town: A project that would include 1,060 housing units, two schools, a health centre, a commercial centre and a mosque in addition to infrastructure facilities, roads and green spaces.
  • Hamad Medical City: The six-floor Hamad Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics will offer services for people with disabilities and injuries, as well as provide prosthetics service and cochlea implantation for deaf Children.
  • Reconstruction of Salahuddin Street, which would stretch 28 km, from Wadi Gaza Bridge to Rafah Crossing in the South.
  • Al-Rashid Street (the coastal road) and Al-Karama Street will also be rebuilt.

The Emir and his delegation have been participating in various ceremonies in Gaza, starting with the initial reception at the Rafah crossing by Ismail Haniya, the prime minister of the Hamas-run territory, and moving on to the laying of foundation stones at Hamad Residential Town, Hamad Medical complex and Salahuddin Street.

Haniya, meanwhile, has praised Qatar’s support for Gaza, saying:

“We, as a great people, today welcome a great man… today we are breaking the siege… Thank you, Your Highness the Emir… thanks to Qatar.”

“We today announce the victory over the siege through this blessed historic visit that will go down in history and will be remembered by the Palestinian and Arab nation generations.”

UPDATE | 3:55pm

In this report, Al Jazeera discusses the political implications of the Emir’s Gaza visit and shares his itinerary for the trip.

Sheikh Hamad and his wife, first lady Sheikha Moza, will only be in Gaza for six hours. The couple and their delegation already received a red-carpet welcome at the Rafah border crossing earlier today. Also on the agenda: laying foundation stones at a Qatar-funded hospital and the Hamad City housing project, which involves the construction of some 1,000 houses for impoverished Palestinians.

Sheikh Hamad will also reportedly meet senior Hamas officials and try to convince them to continue talks with rival party Fatah in Cairo. Finally, the Emir will address Palestinians at one of the main stadiums in Gaza, AJE reports. 

UPDATE | 1:30pm

Here’s the football stadium where the Emir is expected to address a crowd of Palestinians later today:

Photo by Jon Donnison, BBC correspondent, on Twitter

UPDATE | 12:09pm

Qatar’s Emir has begun his landmark visit to Gaza, the BBC reports.

A convoy of 30 new SUVs and minivans and several dozen Qatari security men has crossed through the Egyptian border last night to prepare for the Emir’s historic visit to Gaza.

QNA officially confirmed Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s visit yesterday, a week after initial reports surfaced that the Emir would become the first Arab head of state to visit Gaza since 2007, when Hamas took control of the Palestinian territory. 

According to the state news agency, the Emir, Sheikha Moza and the Prime Minister will pay a “short visit to Gaza, during which he will inaugurate a number of projects funded by Qatar as part of its efforts of Gaza reconstruction.”

That includes $254 million worth of construction projects, including three roads, a hospital and a new town, AP reports.

The trip is widely seen as a victory for Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for the last five years without recognition from the international community, which views Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank as the leader of the people.

Abbas has expressed “deep reservations” over the visit, AP states:

“Such visits give Hamas the impression that the visitors recognize their rule and that would reinforce the split and not help the reconciliation,” (Abbas aide Nimr Hamad) said…

But despite the dismay expressed among some of the Palestinian leadership, many in Gaza appear excited to welcome the Emir. AP continues:

Streets were decorated with white and maroon Qatari flags and signs thanking the Gulf nation for its support. Hamas’ Interior Ministry, which oversees security, said it had a “well prepared plan” to protect the emir, deploying thousands of security men and blocking roads to Gaza City’s main soccer stadium, where the Qatari leader was expected to address a packed audience.

We’ll keep you updated on what’s going on as it happens.


Credit: Photo courtesy of Qatar Eye

Qatar’s Emir and first lady Sheikha Moza are expected to visit Gaza this week, according to a news report by Gaza-based TV station Al Kitab.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s trip would be the first official state visit by an Arab leader since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. 

The government there has yet to be recognized as legitimate by much of the international community, which widely views President Mahmoud Abbas, who governs out of the West Bank, as the leader of the Palestinians.

Thus far, Qatar media has been silent on the visit, and no official confirmation has come from the government that the trip will take place. But Al Kitab asserts that a Qatari delegation is already on the ground preparing for the Emir’s arrival.

Analysts told the National that the Emir’s visit is a reward to Hamas leaders for breaking ties with Syria’s embattled president, Bashar Al Assad.

The newspaper reports:

Hamas leaders hope (the Emir’s) presence will provide a boost to its legitimacy after years of crippling Israeli blockade and diplomatic isolation by much of the international community.

The visit will be of concern to Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist organisation and mortal enemy, and could further undermine discreet Israeli-Qatari diplomatic relations that have been strained in recent years.

Two weeks ago, Qatar opened the first diplomatic office in Gaza since Hamas began governing the territory, saying it is intended to oversee the $254 million it has pledged for infrastructure-building projects there.


Credit: Photo of Emir with Hamas’ Khaled Meshaal courtesy of QNA

Qatar’s first lady is leading a new UN initiative to draw global attention to education-deprived children in conflict zones, AP reports.

Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, a special envoy for UNESCO, said some 61 million children around the world are not in school, many of them from Arab countries including Yemen, Syria and Palestine.

She told the Associated Press about the project:

There has been “a sort of indifference” to attacks on students, teachers and schools by government forces and armed groups, Mozah said. It’s time, she added, “to break the silence.”

As a start, Mozah is launching the first handbook summarizing international laws that protect education during armed conflict…

The handbook, “Protection of Education in Insecurity and Armed Conflict”, covers international human rights, humanitarian and criminal law. She said it’s a tool for lawyers, prosecutors, judges, victims and laymen “to ensure that those who violated the laws related to protection of education can be brought to justice.”

The first lady’s remarks come ahead of next week’s UN General Assemby meeting in New York, which will make “education under attack” a special focus.

During her time in the US, the chairperson of Qatar Foundation also visited a school in Harlem that teaches Arabic to students, a QF initiative. 

Credit: Photo courtesy of Her Highness’s Office