GAZA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his wife Princess Moza are scheduled to arrive in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the first official visit of an Arab leader to the coastal enclave since Hamas movement has violently seized control of it in 2007.
Hamas officials said they has finalized all the preparations in the Gaza Strip for the historic visit, and its security forces have been deployed in various areas, mainly in the sites where the Emir is scheduled to visit.
The Gaza city is decked out with Qatari flags and banners to welcome the Emir and thank Qatar for its political and financial support to the impoverished Strip.
The Qatari-financed construction projects in the Gaza Strip is the first ever Arab effort to reconstruct the enclave since the end of the Israeli operation Cast Lead in early 2009, which largely destroyed the infrastructure and more than 50,000 housing units.
Zeyad Zaza, Hamas deputy prime minister, told Xinhua that the Qatari Emir and his wife will be officially received by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haneya at Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
"The visit of Sheikh Hamad, his wife and the official delegation he is heading, to the Gaza Strip will last for several hours," said Zaza.
The Qatari grant for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip is 254 million U.S. dollars, where it is devoted to building up a housing project in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, to pave Salah al-Dein road, the major road in the Gaza Strip, and to set up a hospital for treating handicapped people.
The Emir couple will be present at the inaugurating ceremonies of the three projects, Zaza said, adding the Emir will also visit Hamas government's headquarters to hold talks with Haneya and other ministers, and in the afternoon he will go to Palestine Football Stadium for a welcome ceremony by the Gaza Strip populations.
In a press statement emailed to Xinhua, Haneya said that his government "is welcoming the visit of Sheikh Hamad to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday," adding that "this visit has many important implications and expresses the great Qatari support to the Palestinian people."
Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Xinhua that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) had been informed 10 days ago about the visit of the Emir to the Gaza Strip, adding that the PNA had welcomed the visit that would contribute to reconstructing the Gaza Strip.
"We hope that the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad will exert more efforts to convince Hamas movement to implement the reconciliation agreement signed in Doha between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal on forming a unity government and hold the elections," said Erekat.
Despite signing the agreement, disputes between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party on implementing the agreement dragged on.
Among the populations in the coastal enclave, some support the visit of the Qatari Emir and hope it will contribute to ending the ongoing Israeli blockade, which had been imposed on the territory since 2007.
Others say that the visit is a first official Arab recognition of Hamas as a rule that controls the enclave. They expressed concerns that the visit may encourage Hamas to declare the Gaza Strip an independent territory isolated from the West Bank.