A Palestinian man helps remove a bag of flour from a house that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on August 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT
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The explosions rocking the Gaza Strip may seem far removed from the flashy cars and skyscrapers of ultrarich Qatar, but efforts to end fighting between Hamas and Israel could hinge on how the tiny Gulf Arab state wields its influence over a Palestinian militant group with few friends left.Qatar has been home to Hamas chief-in-exile Khaled Meshaal since 2012 and has carved out a role as a key financial patron for Gaza, buying influence while shoring up an economy overseen by Hamas.It said Hamas demanded that Egypt grant Qatar a role in resolving the Gaza crisis, but Cairo rejected the idea until Qatar formally apologizes for its policies in Egypt since the military overthrow of Brotherhood-backed President Mohammad Morsi last summer.Qatar at one point allowed an Israeli trade office to operate there – a rarity in the Arab world – before ordering it closed following a 2008 Israeli conflict with Hamas.
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