Terror group appoints first woman to its ruling junta

In apparent attempt to assuage the angry reaction to a perceived anti-woman decision last month, the terror group attempts to show moderation.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Hamas terror group that controls Gaza announced Sunday that it had appointed the first woman to its ruling politburo.

The secret internal elections saw 20 Hamas personalities appointed to the political board including Jamila al-Shanti, 65, a former member of the Palestinian legislature and the widow of Hamas co-founder Abdel Aziz Al-Rantisi.

“For the first time, one of the sisters was elected to the political bureau of the movement,” Hamas said in a statement announcing its decision.

Al-Shanti’s husband was seen as a Hamas hardliner who rejected peace with Israel and said the Iran-backed terror group would fight Israel until it was defeated and replaced with an Islamic Palestinian state. Al-Rantisi was assassinated by Israel in 2004 during the second intifada when Hamas was carrying out deadly waves of suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

The appointment of al-Shanti may be a Hamas move to calm the angry backlash in Gaza last month following the decision by a Hamas-appointed Islamic judge that required unmarried women show their “guardian’s” approval in order to travel. Most Arab countries in the region have eliminated the draconian measure that forces women to get permission from a senior male in their family in order to move outside the household.

Qatar, a major sponsor of Hamas that pumps millions of dollars of cash into Gaza monthly in order to help keep Hamas in power, is the only Arab country in the Gulf to maintain Islamic guardianship over women.

Every four years Hamas holds secret internal elections for its leadership in what it calls its own style of “democracy.” In a close race, incumbent Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar won re-election in a runoff vote after he was almost defeated by Nizar Awadallah, a Hamas veteran seen as being closer to Iran than Sinwar.

Sinwar himself is a convicted terrorist who was jailed for masterminding the murder of Israelis, but released in the 2011 prisoner exchange for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.