Palestinians Angered at Hamas Decision to Build Qatari Embassy on Arafat’s Landing Strip

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THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty

Palestinian officials have expressed their displeasure at the decision of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip to build the home of the Qatari ambassador on the landing strip used for the plane of the late Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

The Qatari ambassador to the Gaza Strip, Muhama Alamadi, laid the cornerstone for the new Qatari embassy, the first in Gaza under the rule of Hamas, together with Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh

At the ceremony, Haniyeh said the plan to establish the embassy “is proof that our Qatari brothers won’t give up on the Palestinian people living under siege.”

The decision aroused anger among the Palestinians. A member of the Palestinian People’s Party, Walid Awad, called the decision a Qatari “rape” of the landing strip as a symbolic plot of land for the Palestinians. “The Palestinian leadership must inform the Qataris that their step is unacceptable.”

Senior Fatah figure Muhammad Dahlan, the bitter rival of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, also criticized the decision, saying, “Hamas and Qatar are trying to defeat Arafat after his death. They will fail because Arafat is in every Palestinian house.” Dahlan attacked the absence of an official Palestinian position on of the Qatari move.

Social media users weren’t very taken with the Qatari decision either. Ola Halilo pondered, “In the entire world, there’s no land left except the landing strip of Arafat’s plane on which to build the home of the Qatari ambassador?”

https://twitter.com/ola_f_halilo/status/868925512361676800

One of the Fatah movement’s Twitter accounts posted, “The flags of Qatar are flying over the landing strip of the martyr Yasser Arafat’s plane.”

https://twitter.com/fatehmedianet/status/869161533741387780

Egyptian leaders also enjoyed lashing out at Qatar, a country that has poor relations with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Twitter account of the newspaper aligned with Sisi, Alyou 7, wrote, “Qatar is polluting Palestinian history and building its embassy on the remains of the landing strip for Arafat’s plane.”

Mahmoud Mortada joined the online conversation, writing, “Qatar has a habit of building on the body parts of others.”

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