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Hamas- now an alternative to Abbas PLO with Ismail’s entry

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Ismail Haniya, a former Gaza Prime Minister has been elected chief of Palestinian Islamist militant group, succeeding exiled leader Khaled Mashaal.

“The Hamas leadership elections have been going on for the past several months and in November 2016 reports were circulated that Haniya will replace Qatar based Khaled. On May 6,2017 the formal announcement of Ismail seizing the role of the chairman of Hamas Politburo has been made after Haniya visited several Arab, Muslim states including the European and African countries.

Hamas has been engaging in re-branding itself as an Islamic national liberation movement, rather than a branch of the pan-Arab Muslim brotherhood, which has been banned by Egypt. The Islamic group even released a new document that reflects group’s policy. It seeks to establish itself as an alternative to the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which has been regarded as the only legitimate Representative of the Palestinian people.

In the new document-there is no direct call to destroy the state of Israel, willing to accept a Palestinian state  within the pre-1967 lines (not borders, because borders are fixed by two states  and that would mean recognizing the State of Israel) but it retains the right to fight for every inch of Palestine and liberated Palestine is to stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Hamas is now working on the concept of improving its regional and international relations by adopting soft approach stance.

Haniya hails from Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza, he became prime minister  after Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006 ending four decades of political domination by its rival party Fatah in Gaza.He was dismissed by President Mahmoud Abbas over the pretext of Fatah-Hamas conflict. Thereafter, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the dissolution of the March 2007 unity government on 14 June 2010 thereby dismissing Haniyah’s prime ministerial authority in Gaza and declared a state of emergency. Simultaneously Rafah Crossing was closed by the Egyptian authorities after Hamas takeover of the Gaza strip in 2007 and periodically gets open. Gaza has been under Israeli blockade since 2006. However, the crossing in Sinai is the only gateway for 1.8 million Palestinians living in Israeli-besieged Gaza to enter and exit the enclave  and is the only terminal not controlled by Israel.

The simultaneous new developments in Palestine presents President Abbas a good chance to bring about peace  as also U.S. President Donald Trump is keen to resolve the Israeli-Palestine conflict by acting as a “mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator.”

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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