Abbas slams burning of Qatar emir effigy

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President Mahmud Abbas on Thursday slammed the burning of an effigy of Qatar’s emir in the West Bank, saying it did not reflect the opinion of the Palestinian leadership or people.

“The burning of an effigy of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani does not represent in any way the position of the state of Palestine, Fatah or the Palestinian people,” he said in a statement carried by the news agency WAFA.

Abbas added that Palestinians “respect the leaders of Arab countries and do not [seek to] interfere in their internal affairs.”

Students linked to Abbas’s Fatah party hanged and burned an effigy of the Qatari emir in the city of Tulkarem on Thursday in protest at the Gulf state’s foreign policy in the region.

Qatar proposed a mini-summit to reconcile the secular Fatah and its bitter rival the Islamist Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, at an Arab League summit in Doha in March.

The Gulf state has also pledged to invest $400 million in rebuilding Gaza after repeated Israeli military operations against the besieged enclave.

Hamas’s spokesman on Thursday demanded that Abbas arrest the perpetrators of the effigy incident.

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