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  December 13, 2012

Qatari Aid Moves Hamas Away From Iran into "Moderate" Camp

American ally Qatar brokers Palestinian leadership deal and takes Gaza under its wing
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After years of an Israeli blockade, decades of occupation and seemingly endless war, Gaza is now at the heart of a geopolitical pull in the region. Powerhouse countries like Turkey and Qatar are using their influence in the region to align Gaza's ruling Hamas government with what some consider a more moderate stance.

Signs of Qatari support and solidarity are evident throughout Gaza. Qatar, a country that has seemingly become the "Good Arab" state to the western world has played a major role in funneling money to Gaza. In the past 2 years, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in Gaza by the tiny Gulf state. Following the high profile visit of the Qatari Amir before the recent Israeli attack, the Qatar office opened up in Gaza

{A big Qatari delegation has arrived in Gaza to show solidarity with the people here and also to inaugurate a number of projects across the territory}

Projects include school building construction, protection for fishermen constantly under threat by the Israeli navy, as well as development and education programs.

For their part, Hamas officials have welcomed support from Arab and Islamic states especially Qatar, saying that whatever the goal maybe, the intentions to assist fellow Arab Palestinians in need and under prolonged Israeli occupation is welcome

Mr Yousef told Real News that Iran remains a key alley, regardless of reports that there has been a rift between the two.

I asked him if Qatar's diplomatic moves and humanitarian help to Gaza aims to distance Hamas from the resistance camp and Iran ?

The largest Qatari delegation to visit Gaza coincided with the historic visit of Hamas leader Khalid Meshal arriving in the besieged territory. Addressing tens of thousands, Meshal praised Palestinian armed resistance and said that to liberate occupied Palestine is Hamas’s strategic choice.

During his speech, he also praised and thanked Arab and Islamic countries contributing to the resistance and its efforts

{Although, Israel, the US and the EU consider Hamas a terrorist organization, it still enjoys support in Gaza and in many parts in the world and feels it is gaining regional political influence after the Arab uprisings brought new Islamist governments to power}

However, according to political analysts, Hamas is very slowly but surely moving into the mainstream moderate camp, suggesting a divide within Hamas movement.

Mr Eid is skeptical of Qatar's motives in Gaza and suspects Qatar's role aims to domesticate Hamas into accepting the so-called peace process and neutralizing Hamas' armed wing

Last month, Egypt brokered a truce between Hamas and Israel, an indication that Hamas which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, is compromising on its typically hard-line stance.

Yousef Al-Helou for the Real News, Gaza.


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