Qatar’s Emir Visits Gaza Strip

The emir of Qatar became the first head of state to visit the Gaza Strip in 13 years on Tuesday, in a trip called “astounding” by Israel. Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani crossed into Gaza from Egypt with a large international delegation, and was given the VIP treatment by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh—and his archrival, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, saying he hoped the visit would not undermine efforts to rebuild Palestine. Qatar’s emir has been working to improve the diplomatic standing of his country, and has mediated in the past between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah movement.