Ismail Haniyeh named as new Hamas leader

He also said that Hamas movement is pumping new blood into its leadership, referring to electing Yehya al-Sinwar, as the leader of the movement in the Gaza Strip, and electing new Shoura Council.

Moreover, by the announcement, Hamas may have wanted to show a delink from the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood movement and draw a distinction between Palestinians' struggle against Israel.

Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007.

The announcement caps several months of voting among Hamas' far-flung members in Gaza, the West Bank, Israeli jails and overseas to select a replacement for Meshaal, who sought to step down.

The PA's decisions led to the two sides blaming each other for the situation, with Hamas accusing the PA of treating Gaza residents like hostages.

"He was one of the leaders who believed that participating in the political system would make the worldwide community open their arms, strengthen the Palestinians, and force Israel to deal with Hamas".

Israel has fought three wars with Hamas since 2008, and maintains a crippling blockade on Gaza. Abbas has been an outspoken opponent of violence, saying it undercuts Palestinian interests.

The document, published Monday, labels as "a national consensus" the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state along pre-1967 lines with the return of refugees to their homes in Israel.

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Haniyeh's selection marks the final phase of the secretive Hamas elections.

The moves came amid spiraling tensions between the groups, with Abbas threatening to cut off funding to Gaza to pressure Hamas.

Haniya was one of Yassin's closest Hamas leaders, and lived with the quadriplegic leader, guiding him in his wheel chair and spending most of his time with him whether feeding and bathing him or reading for him.

Haniyeh, he expects, will be "more flexible on different aspects, maybe foremost is the reconciliation, though I don't see a near end to divisions given the wide gap between the positions of Hamas and Fatah".

For the past four years he has served as Mashaal's deputy.

Abbas recently warned he would cut salaries, aid and subsidies to Gaza to force Hamas to cede ground.

This is Haniyeh, the Gazan Hamas terror leader who has risen in the ranks to head the Hamas political bureau. "If a person is from outside Gaza, he won't talk about Gaza's ordeals and worries properly".

Haniya, a father of 13, was educated at a UN-run refugee school, later earning an education degree from the Islamic University and becoming a university administrator.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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