Palestinian Islamic Jihad mends fences with Qatar

Qatari Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mohammed al-Emadi met recently with a high-level delegation from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) at his Gaza City residence. The meeting was the first in months between the parties, since tensions arose between them in May after Emadi seemed to insinuate that the PIJ wants to pull the Gaza Strip into a military escalation with Israel.

He said back then, “Hamas and Israel do not want war, but somebody stoked military escalation on the borders and wants to drag the region into escalation.” He was referring to the Palestinian sniper who shot two Israeli soldiers May 3 in the eastern Gaza Strip. No Palestinian party has so far claimed responsibility.

Emadi’s statements at the time sparked a response from PIJ Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhaleh, who said during a May 15 press conference, “Although we are thankful to Qatar for offering humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, we do not accept the statements of Emadi, who has overstepped his humanitarian mission and is now grading the resistance for its conduct.”

That same day, Emadi issued a press statement saying his words were misunderstood. He clarified, “I respect all Palestinian factions, and I appreciate their sacrifices. I value my special relationship with them, including with the Islamic Jihad, which is key in the Palestinian territories. I have met with the organization and had several calls with its officials during repeated visits to Gaza. They have positive stances that stem from their deep awareness of the stage the Palestinian cause is going through and the wisdom and patience it requires.”

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