GAZA (Ma’an) -- Qatar has reportedly decided to build an embassy in the besieged Gaza Strip during a meeting of the Qatari committee for Gaza reconstruction on Monday.
The head of the committee, Abd al-Halim al-Issawi, gave the greenlight for the construction of the embassy after visiting the planned location, a five-dunam (1.2 acres) plot of land south of the Gaza City port, on Thursday with contractors.
While Qatar has had a representative office in the besieged Palestinian enclave, the planned embassy could mark a significant diplomatic move, as most countries have implanted their diplomatic missions and consulates to the occupied Palestinian territory in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Qatar is a prominent backer of the Hamas movement -- the de facto ruling party in Gaza -- and has provided significant financial support for reconstruction in the blockaded enclave following several devastating Israeli offensives.
Naji Sharab, a professor of political science at Gaza's al-Azhar University, told the Dunya al-Watan news outlet that "such a step is unprecedented in diplomatic relations," and that he saw it as a potential move by Qatar to recognize the Gaza Strip as a national entity separate from the Palestinian Authority-ruled West Bank.
However, Dunya al-Watan quoted another political analyst and writer, Hussam al-Dajani, as saying that embassies are usually located in the capital cities of the host countries, but that given East Jerusalem’s occupied status, “Qatar can choose a location for its embassy to Palestine in coordination with the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
Al-Dajani thus dismissed the significance of the move "as long as the Foreign Ministry in Ramallah and the one in Gaza are in agreement."