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Monday, January 24, 2022

Amir Tamim meets Hamas chief Haniyeh in Doha


Israeli forces continue to fire stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque despite a ceasefire.

The Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas Dr. Ismail Haniyeh thanked Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani for his continued support of the Palestinian people during a meeting at the Amiri Diwan on Monday.

The meeting saw the pair discuss the latest developments in Palestine as well as efforts to rebuild Gaza following a 11-day bombardment of the besieged enclave that ended with a Qatar and Egypt-brokered ceasefire on Friday.

Haniyeh thanked Sheikh Tamim for Doha’s substantial diplomatic efforts that played a role in reaching the truce after days of brutal violence that killed hundreds.

The Qatari amir extended his continued support to Palestinians and stressed the importance of Palestinian unity to obtain legitimate national rights, among which is the establishment of an independent state in the 1967 borders, as per the Arab Peace Initiative.

On Saturday the amir pledged to help stop Israeli attacks against Palestinians and the Al-Aqsa mosque during a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Doha’s state news agency [QNA] reported.

President Abbas also expressed his appreciation of Qatar’s continued efforts to support Palestinians.

Both the phone call and meeting came just days after a Qatar and Egypt-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas came into effect on Friday, following deadly attacks that killed 248 Palestinians including 66 children.

The ceasefire has been praised by leaders around the world for ending days of brutal violence in Gaza.

“I commend Egypt and Qatar for the efforts carried out, in close coordination with the UN, to help restore calm to Gaza and Israel”, said Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement to reporters at United Nations [UN] Headquarters in New York, calling on all sides to observe the ceasefire.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland also thanked Qatar for its efforts in bringing the situation in Gaza to a much needed calm.

I welcome the ceasefire between #Gaza & #Israel. I extend my deepest condolences to the victims of the violence & their loved ones. I commend #Egypt & #Qatar for the efforts carried out, in close contact w/ the @UN, to help restore calm. The work of building #Palestine can start,” he tweeted.

Since May 10, Israeli air raids have destroyed fifty schools in Gaza according to Save the Children. 

Read also: UN, EU thank Qatar for facilitating ceasefire in Gaza Strip

The Qatar Red Crescent Society Office was also destroyed as was the Al Jalaa building which housed Qatar-based Al Jazeera offices, the Associated Press offices and residential units.

The Sheikh Hamad Hospital for Rehabilitation and Artificial Limbs, Gaza’s only prosthetic and disability rehab centre, also saw significant damage after targeted attacks by Israel on the Gaza Strip. Gaza’s biggest library was also destroyed.

The indiscriminate bombardment also caused destruction to the Strip’s main Covid-19 testing centre, as well as at least 15 other hospitals and health clinics.

Ongoing attacks against Palestinians

Despite the truce in Gaza, occupying Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque, firing rubber-coated steel bullets at worshippers who were performing Friday prayers as well as unarmed people celebrating the ceasefire.

The Palestinian Red Crescent has not disclosed figures on the number of injuries reported in the Friday attacks.

Meanwhile, Israel has also been accused of unlawfully blocking entry to the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, placing cement barricades at its entrances while banning press and non-residents to enter.

Israeli forces also regularly ask Palestinians living in the neighbourhood for their IDs while allowing Israeli settlers in without any proof.

The latest flare-up in Israeli aggression started in Sheikh Jarrah after Palestinians protested what they described as attempts to ethnically cleanse the East Jerusalem neighbourhood to make way for Jewish settlers.

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