Gaza Hamas Chief Haniyeh Removes Candidacy From Leadership Race

Haaretz has learned prime minister will not run in the election due to take place next week; though the deputy bureau chief remains the only candidate, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal may still run at the last moment.

Avi Issacharoff
Avi Issacharoff
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Avi Issacharoff
Avi Issacharoff

The election for the leadership of the Hamas Political Bureau will take place next week, after being postponed in the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense. Haaretz has learned that Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has removed his candidacy in the race for the leadership of the organization, and for now there is only one definite candidate, Moussa Abu Marzouk, the present deputy bureau chief. But even at this stage it is still unclear whether the incumbent bureau chief, Khaled Meshal - who enjoys the full support of Qatar and Turkey, which are pressing for his appointment for another term – will be running against him.

Meshal has been serving in this position since 1997. Shortly after his ascent to Hamas leadership, Meshal was the target of a botched assassination attempt by agents from Israel’s Mossad espionage agency operating covertly in Jordan.
His life was saved when Israel agreed to hand over the antidote to the toxin used on him, in return for the release of the two Mossad agents caught and held in Jordan during the assassination attempt.

Meshal continues to declare that he does not intend to run, but it is possible that due to pressure on him from the Hamas leadership in the West Bank, in the prisons and from Arab countries, he will decide at the last moment to run, and then his victory is probably guaranteed.

Meshal has supposedly also gained Cairo's support, which is overtly promoting his candidacy in the election for the political office, but is covertly actually helping Abu Marzouk, probably because of it enjoys great influence over him. These elections are also delaying the reconciliation attempts between Hamas and Fatah, with a summit of the leaderships of the two organizations supposed to be held in Cairo only at the end of January, in order to try to reach another agreement on intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

Meanwhile the controversy surrounding the site of the anniversary rally celebrating the establishment of Fatah in Gaza continues. The rally was supposed to take place in Katiba Square, in the same place where the rally celebrating Hamas' establishment took place this month. But recently the reigning organization in Gaza has refused to allow Fatah to celebrate its anniversary in the square.

Hamas chief Khaled Meshal, left, and Hamas' Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, attend a rally marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Gaza City, December 8, 2012.Credit: Reuters
Yemenis hold pictures of Hamas leaders as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Islamist movement in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012.Credit: AP

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


מריאן ס' מריאן אומנות

The Artist Who Survived Auschwitz Thought Israel Was 'Worse Than the Concentration Camp'

הקלטות מעוז

Jewish Law Above All: Recordings Reveal Far-right MK's Plan to Turn Israel Into Theocracy

איתמר בן גביר

Why I’m Turning My Back on My Jewish Identity

Travelers looking at the Departures board at Ben Gurion Airport. The number of olim who later become yordim is unknown.

Down and Out: Why These New Immigrants Ended Up Leaving Israel

Beatrice Grannò and Simona Tabasco as Mia and Lucia in "The White Lotus."

The Reality Behind ‘The White Lotus’ Sex Work Fantasy

The Mossad hit team in Dubai. Exposed by dozens of security cameras

This ‘Dystopian’ Cyber Firm Could Have Saved Mossad Assassins From Exposure