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Word of Qatar's new office in Gaza rattles Palestine

Palestinians were shaken up by the quickly retracted news that Qatar was to open an embassy in Gaza, a move that would greatly complicate the political division between Hamas and Fatah.

Qatar's Gaza Reconstruction Committee briefly announced its intention to build an embassy in Gaza. According to its Jan. 9 Facebook post, a building was to be erected south of the port of Gaza, on a five-acre lot that would also include the ambassador’s residence. But only hours later, the committee replaced the post with another statement reading that Qatar is getting ready to establish a building for the reconstruction committee and not an embassy. There was no explanation for the correction and the original news was deleted.

The news, announced on Jan. 9, quickly spread among Palestinians, prompting the Qatari ambassador to the Palestinian territories to issue a statement on Jan. 10. Mohammed al-Emadi, who is also chairman of the Gaza Reconstruction Committee, said, “News about the building of a Qatari Embassy in Gaza are inaccurate. The building to be established will be the headquarters of the Qatari committee overseeing Qatar’s projects in Gaza. All Qatari projects in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are in coordination with the Palestinian government of national consensus.”

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