Qatar's ruler has arrived in Gaza on a visit that will be seen as a major boost for Hamas, the rulers of the Strip.
The controversial trip is the first by an Arab head of state since Hamas, who are considered a terrorist group in the UK and America, was elected in 2006. It then fought a bloody internecine war with the more moderate Fatah movement which dominates the West Bank.
Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa al Thani arrived in Gaza via the Egyptian border at Rafah, the scene of frequent bloody clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces - and more recently of fighting between Egyptian security and local Islamists linked to al Qaeda.
The visit is intended to celebrate Qatar's commitment to pump \$250m (£156m) into re-building projects in the strip, which suffers from severe restrictions on imports and exports imposed by the Israeli government.
The centre piece of the project will be the creation of a new city on land once inhabited by Israeli settlers, which will be named after the Emir.
Qatar's ambassador to Gaza, who will oversee the project, has claimed the new city would see the construction of 1,000 new homes in five-storey apartment blocks, new schools, shops, clinics parks and entertainment facilities.
Contracts have also been put out for tender for the rebuilding of three major highways, including the main coastal route Al Rashid street, as well as millions of dollars' worth of agricultural projects.
The Hamas administration in Gaza is not recognized either by Israel or many Western governments. It raises much of its revenue from 'customs' tariffs on goods smuggled into the Gaza Strip through a network of tunnels from Egypt.
The Qatari's plans will be a major economic boost to the 1.7 million residents of Gaza. A substantial percentage of it is likely to also flow in Hamas coffers.
This may be an attempt to drive Hamas away from violence and into focussing greater effort on civilian development.
The visit of a major Arab leader to Gaza will be seen by many as a tacit endorsement of the Hamas leadership.
It is also a rebuke to the PA, which has been criticised for widespread corruption and its handling of the economic situation in the West Bank.
The decision for the Emir of Qatar to make the visit also shines a light on the foreign policy of the small but increasingly influential Sunni Gulf State.
Qatar's overseas strategy has been the subject of intense debate and analysis, particularly since the Arab uprisings of 2011.
Qatari Special Forces were influential on Libya's rebel militia's leading them on the capture of Tripoli and training some of the most effective tribal fighting groups.
The mostly British-trained Qatari forces are also active in Syria. Qatar and Saudi Arabia has been sending "hundreds of millions worth of support including lethal hardware" to Syrian rebels for months, according to senior Western diplomats.
Qatar has been a key Western ally. But there remains lingering suspicions that the conservative kingdom may also harbour sympathies with hard line groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood - which is now dominant in Egyptian politics.