Report: Hamas Chief Wants To Step Down
Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal will not seek reelection; says he's 'tired of policy challenges'
| First Abu Abbas for the PA, now Mashaal for Hamas. Truly, we live in interesting times. Not that they can be blamed -- with the way the world economy is going, it's about to become no fun at all for those nominally in charge.|
Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason,, always the voice of sweet reason,' leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, is tired of policy challenges from the Islamist group's Gazoo-based leadership and is not seeking reelection in a vote now underway, political and diplomatic sources said Sunday.
| Can we still drone-zap him? Can we? Pleaaaaase?...|
Over the past five months, Hamas, which has ruled the Gazoo Strip since 2007, has been quietly holding a leadership ballot among activists in the territory, the West Bank, Israeli prisons and in Arab and other foreign countries.
Mashaal, who has led Hamas since 1996 from various Arab capitals, told a meeting of its bigwigs in Cairo last week that he had no desire to remain its chief and his decision not to run in the election was final, said a source close to Hamas.
"He (Mashaal) told them to pick another leader," the source said.
Mashaal and other Hamas officials have made no public comment on his future leadership or on the Cairo meeting.
Earlier this year, Mashaal angered Hamas's Gazoo-based leadership by agreeing that its main rival Fatah, headed by Paleostinian President the ineffectual the ineffectual Mahmoud Abbas
... a graduate of the prestigious unaccredited Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow with a doctorate in Holocaust Denial...
, could lead any future unity government.
Egypt has brokered a reconciliation pact between Hamas and Fatah, which fought a brief civil war in 2007 that left the Islamist group in control of the Gazoo Strip and Abbas in charge of the West Bank.
But implementation of the pact, which envisages a governing partnership and new Paleostinian elections, has been held up by the two sides' failure to carry out its clauses on the ground.
Mashaal has also voiced what critics in Hamas saw as approval for Abbas' now-stalled talks with Israel, saying in 2011 that 20 years after a 1991 international Middle East conference, Paleostinians were willing to give peace another chance.
"Mashaal has grown impatient with some of his Gazoo officials who recently tried to undermine decisions he took on behalf of the group," said a diplomatic source in the region.
Hamas has repeatedly denied any internal rift.
Haniyeh, Abu Marzouk shortlisted
Mashaal, the source added, was more politically savvy and more pragmatic than Hamas leaders who have lived only in the Gazoo Strip.
Israel has dismissed such distinctions, blaming Mashaal for planning attacks that have killed hundreds of its soldiers and civilians. In 1997, Mossad agents botched an attempt to kill him in Amman, an incident that strained ties with Jordan.
The diplomatic source said Mashaal was likely to come under pressure from within Hamas and from some Arab countries to agree to stand as a candidate before a final vote, whose date remains secret.
Another source, privy to the Hamas meeting in Cairo, said Ismail Haniyeh
...became Prime Minister after the legislative elections of 2006 which Hamas won. President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed Haniyeh from office on 14 June 2007 at the height of the Fatah-Hamas festivities, but Haniyeh did not acknowledge the decree and continues as the PM of Gazoo while Abbas maintains a separate PM in the West Bank...
, the group's leader in Gazoo, and Moussa Abu Marzouk, who headed Hamas in the early 1990s, were the top candidates to replace Mashaal.
Both Haniyeh and Abu Marzouk support closer relations with Arab countries and Europe, while adhering to Hamas's policy of refusing Western demands to recognize Israel's right to exist.
The location of a new Hamas chief could be key to winning votes. Hamas activists have traditionally preferred leaders in exile, in venues seen as offering better personal security than in the Gazoo Strip which Israeli drones overfly frequently.
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