Hamas has elected Ismail Haniyeh to lead the terrorist organization and as head of its political bureau.
The Hamas terror group has elected Ismail Haniyeh to head the organization’s political bureau and as its overall leader, replacing Khaled Masha’al and marking the end of the last phase of Hamas’ internal elections.
Speaking from the Qatari capital of Doha on Saturday, outgoing Hamas head Masha’al expressed confidence in Hamas’ “new leadership and their abilities and aspirations. They will not spare any effort to tackle all the thorny issues and priorities of the Palestinian people.”
The newly elected leader and “his brothers…will do their best to work on the key issues including: liberation, Jerusalem, prisoners, right of refugees, lifting the siege imposed on Gaza, and achieving internal unity,” Mashal stated.
“Hamas is ready to initiate a new phase of its history. May Allah guide and bless us all,” he added.
Haniyeh, 54, was Hamas’ previous leader in Gaza. In February, the group chose Yahya Sanwar, one of Hamas’ most extreme and violent leaders, to replace him.
Haniyeh’s election comes shortly after Hamas unveiled a new, allegedly more pragmatic political program aimed at ending the group’s international isolation.
For the past four years, Haniyeh, born in the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza, has served as Masha’al’s deputy and as private secretary to Hamas’ founder and spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin, who was subsequently assassinated by Israel.
Haniyeh’s first task will be the management of escalating tensions between Hamas and the rival Fatah movement. In recent weeks, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas threatened to exert financial pressure, including cutting wages, power and aid to Gaza, as a way of forcing Hamas to cede ground.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News