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Hamas’ Relationship with Qatar Widens Rift With West Bank

Since Qatar has taken the initiative to play a greater regional role, especially regarding the Palestinian cause, many in the West Bank feel it seeks to undermine Fatah’s leadership, writes Hazem Balousha.
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani talks during the official opening ceremony of the Doha GOALS forum in Doha December 11, 2012.  REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad (QATAR - Tags: SPORT POLITICS) - RTR3BG1Z
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In an unprecedented step, Hamas has demanded its political rival Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to arrest the young men who burned an effigy of the Emir of Qatar in the city of Tulkarem in the West Bank. This has sparked a wave of severe criticism on the Palestinian streets because of the political rapprochement between the Islamic movement and Qatar.

In a press statement that was sent out to reporters via email, Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas’ spokesman, said that “Hamas considers Abbas’ condemnation of the abusive act on the part of some Fatah-affiliated youth to the Qatari leadership not to be enough and does not relieve him from responsibility given the fact that he is the head of the Fatah movement. We condemn this irresponsible act and call upon Abbas to arrest the culprits in order to preserve our foreign relations. We consider this act to be the result of incitement on the part of some Fatah leadership to support certain Arab parties against others.”

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