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article imageMalaysian Prime Minister visits Gaza Strip

By Ken Hanly     Jan 22, 2013 in Politics
Gaza - Malaysia's prime minister, Najib Razak, visited the Gaza Strip, entering through the land border with Egypt to avoid entrance through Israel.
The West Bank Palestinian leaders are angry with the visit even though Razak has expressed his solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Malaysia's prime minister has defied Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip to visit the Palestinian enclave, a move that has earned the ire of West Bank leaders, despite Razak's pledge of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Najib said his visit was humanitarian. At a news conference is Gaza City with Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader, Rajak claimed that he came to Gaza "to express my solidarity with the Palestinian people".
He added:"This is a humanitarian visit to express our deep concerns for what happens to the Palestinian people in Gaza and to express our opposition to the aggression on Gaza."
Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Fatah movement and Palestinian president complained:"The Palestinian presidency announces its rejection and condemnation of the Malaysian prime minister's visit to Gaza. It undermines Palestinian representation and reinforces the division and does not serve Palestinian interests."
Razak called for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. He said the two should form a consensus to plan for new elections:"We believe in this unity government and we pray to Allah that the talks will be successful and a united government will become a reality in the near future."
As well as visiting a university and government offices, he also visited the family of a top Hamas military chief who was assassinated by Israel last November, an act that helped spark the eight-day was between Israel and Gaza. More than 160 Palestinians died in the war and six Israelis. Finally, Razak laid a stone to begin construction of a Malaysian-funded school.
During the Israeli offensive in Gaza, Razak called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to halt Israeli attacks against the Palestinians.in Gaza.
. Razak is the second country head to visit the Gaza Strip and defy the Israeli blockade. The Emir of Qatar was the first visitor to accept an invitation from Hamas to visit. Most western states classify Hamas as a terrorist group. The Emir, while visiting last October, promised to provide $400 million to the strip in aid to build infrastructure, money that is much needed as infrastructure was severely damaged in the war the following month.
On February 9th a third head of state, from Tunisia, will visit the strip. Moncef Marzouki. Marzouki is a democrat and human rights activist whose party belongs to a coalition with the major Islamist party in Tunisia. Since Mubarak was overthrown Egypt has eased restrictions on travel into the Gaza Strip at the Rafah border crossing. This is the only way to enter Gaza without travel through Israel.
As the appended video shows, daily life in Gaza is a struggle. Power is cut off for at least 8 hours every day.
More about Malaysis, Gaza strip, Mahmoud abbas
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