New Hamas chief makes first public appearance in native Gaza

Posted May 09, 2017

Gaza-based resistance group Hamas will hold elections on Saturday to elect a new political bureau chief to replace Khaled Meshaal, according to a Hamas source.

The newly-elected leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, has pledged his support for the Palestinian political prisoners now waging a historic mass strike in Israeli cells.

Ismail Haniya, named Saturday as head of Hamas, is a charismatic leader from the Gaza streets who represents the more pragmatic wing of the Islamist movement.

It has also dropped explicit language calling for Israel's destruction, though it retains the goal of eventually "liberating" all of historic Palestine, which includes what is now Israel.

The document notably accepts the idea of a Palestinian state in territories occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967. Hamas ignored the dismissal and a Haniyeh-led Hamas government remained in place in Gaza, while Abbas appointed a rival administration in autonomous West Bank enclaves under his control. He intends to devote his life to saving the Strip's residents from hunger because "he himself was born in a refugee camp in Gaza".

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"Electing Haniya and holding the well-organised internal elections on time were made in spite of the situation that Hamas is passing through", Xinhua quoted al-Qanoua as saying.

Haniya rose to prominence in 2006, when he led Hamas to a shock election victory over Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority.

It also says Hamas's struggle is not with Jews but with "occupying Zionist aggressors".

In 1989, He was imprisoned by Israeli Occupation Forces for three years and then deported to Marj al-Zuhour on the Lebanese-Palestinian border with a group of Hamas leaders, where he spent a full year in exile.

Netanyahu finished the video by picking up a copy of the Hamas document.

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Islamic Jihad's deputy leader, Ziad al-Nakhala, said he considered the new Hamas platform as a progress towards a "deadlock", adding that his movement does not accept a "Palestinian State within the 1967 borders because such a concession damages our aims". Now, with the Meshaal era over, the movement's leadership is returning to the Gaza Strip.

Yahya Sinwar was jailed by Israel until October 2011, when he was freed along with more than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured five years earlier.

Netanyahu expressed the same sentiments in his new video, which targeted the media's coverage of the new Hamas policy document.

Since quitting his longtime base in Damascus in 2012, Mashaal has mostly lived in lavish suites in the capital of the oil rich gulf state of Qatar.

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