Friday , October 20 2017

Ismial Haniya, new Hamas Chief makes first public appearance in Native Gaza

Islamabad: Ismial Haniya, the newly elected leader of Hamas paid tribute in Gaza to Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel in his first public appearance in the new role which is marked as a sign of the group’s internal power shift from the diasporas to the Hamas-ruled territory.
Haniyeh, a former prime minister of Gaza, replaced Khaled Mashaal of Qatar as head of the political bureau on Saturday after winning secret internal elections.
In his brief visit to his native Gaza City “solidarity tent” for hunger-striking 900 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, paying tribute to Palestinian prisoners after greeting local security chiefs, said “It’s my honor to shoulder the responsibility of leading the political bureau of this large movement of holy resistance assured them the fate of the prisoners remains a top priority for Hamas,”
Hamas’ shift to Gaza comes at a time of growing financial pressure on the territory, ruled by the Islamic militant group since it drove out forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.
Abbas, who oversees autonomous enclaves in the West Bank has reduced salary payments and electricity subsidies to Gaza in recent weeks and said more steps would follow. It’s part of an attempt to force Hamas to cede ground in Gaza after years of failed reconciliation attempts.
Haniyeh, 54, also faces other challenges, such as restrictions on movement. Israel and Egypt imposed a border blockade on Gaza after the Hamas takeover, keeping the territory’s borders sealed most of the time. Hamas leaders have been able to travel abroad
The Haniya administration resigned in 2014, as part of a deal with Fatah to set up a transitional government for both the West Bank and Gaza that was to pave the way for national elections. The deal collapsed, with both political camps refusing to relinquish control in their respective territories.
Haniya, who served as Marshal’s deputy for the past four years, most recently traveled abroad in September. He first visited Saudi Arabia on a Muslim pilgrimage, then traditional backers Qatar and Turkey, before returning to Gaza in January.

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