Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to step down

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to step down

Gaza : Palestine | Sep 25, 2012 at 4:38 AM PDT
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Hamas' leader Khaled Meshaal, who has led Hamas since 1996 from various Arab capitals, is not seeking re-election in a vote now underway, senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil said. Meshaal is tired of policy challenges from the Islamist group's Gaza-based leadership and issues over the Palestinian split, he explained.

"When Meshaal said, he was not seeking re-election, a message was sent to him from the movement’s leaders unanimously asking him to change his mind," Bardawil said.

A senior Hamas official in Gaza told al-Qadas TV that Meshaal's decision to resign stemmed from a previous attempt by seniors in the organization to undermine and depose of him as head of the political bureau.

However, the date of the election of the next Hamas leader remains secret, as usual in most Islamic organizations in the world. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas' prime minister in Gaza Strip, Moussa Abu Marzouk, who headed Hamas in the early 1990s, and Hamas political bureau member Dr. Khalil Al-Hayyah, are the top candidates expected to replace Meshaal.

Taking into consideration that there are other names, unknown to the public, but at the same time these names have the power within Hamas to issue a either political or military decisions.

Earlier this month, Meshaal told a meeting of its senior officials in Cairo he had no desire to remain its chief and his decision not to run in the election was final, said a diplomatic source close to Hamas.

In another context, since a year ago, a lot of rumors are talking about problems and disagreements between Hamas leadership in Gaza and its leadership abroad. This was very clear during the past few weeks, whereas Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar visited Iran, despite the fact that there is considerable disagreement between Iran and Meshaal, for supporting the Syrian revolution against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The visit was an indication that there is a dispute and that Hamas leadership in Gaza is no longer coordinating with Meshaal in any political moves. This comes in addition to the recent visit of Haniyeh to Cairo, which confirmed that there is almost split between Hamas leadership in Gaza and Meshaal, as Haniyeh, according to political Palestinian sources, was supposed to coordinate his visits abroad with Meshaal and this never happened during the recent period.

In related news, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged the Egyptian leaders to deal only with one representative of the Palestinian people, either the PLO or the Palestinian Authority.

In response, Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr told the Al-Ahram daily that Hamas officials were welcome in Cairo as visitors not as a representative of the Palestinian people.


In Gaza, we expect such disagreements to occur between Hamas leadership in Gaza and the leadership abroad led by Meshaal, for one single reason, that Meshaal wanted to end the Palestinian division, which occurred in 2007 when Hamas took over Gaza Strip by force. Meshaal discovered that Palestinian unity and reconciliation are the only solution to face international challenges and Israeli attacks.

Hamas knows very well that regardless of ideological differences with Fatah, that reconciliation and unity are so necessary, but there are leaders of Hamas who are preventing this unity for many reasons; mainly the reasons are of their self-interests.

I personally do not think that Meshaal will resign, because there would be Muslim and Arab pressure on him to remain until he ends the Palestinian division.

Finally, the military wing of Hamas, which has excellent relationship with Meshaal, would not allow the political differences to deepen within the movement and will intervene at the right time to put an end to the internal squabbles.



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Khaled Meshaal
Image: AFP
saleh1966 is based in Gaza, Ġazzah, Palestine, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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