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Hamas to name new leader, renew ‘resistance’ charter




The Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas says it is to name a new leader over the coming days.

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Sunday that the results of internal elections will be announced “in the coming days.”

The French news agency AFP also cited a Hamas official as saying that the new leadership will be announced before May 15.

The official said Haniyeh was expected to be assigned to the movement’s leadership. If appointed to the post, he will be replacing two-time Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

Haniyeh became the Palestinian prime minister in Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, which witnessed a landslide victory for Hamas.

Since then, the West has been refusing to deal with Hamas due to its refusal to recognize Israel.

President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas forced Haniyeh out of office in 2007 amid differences between Hamas and rival Fatah movement, after which the movement established its rule in the Gaza Strip.

Amended charter

On Monday, Hamas was expected to announce supplementing its charter, which will reportedly reaffirm the movement’s refusal to recognize Israel. Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Zahar said it would also restate Hamas’ commitment to resistance.

The movement is a leading force in the fight against Israel, which has waged three wars against the territory since 2007, killing thousands of Palestinians.

The last war began in early July 2014 and ended on August 26 the same year. It killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and wounded over 11,100 others.

“The resistance remains and we will fight [Israel] with all our might,” Zahar said.

Israel has also assassinated many Hamas figures, including the group’s leaders, officials and activists.

Palestinian children play amidst the ruins of a building destroyed during Israel’s 50-day war of the summer of 2014 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip on April 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)


‘Crimes against humanity’

The Gaza Strip, with its population of some 1.8 million people, has been under a crippling Israeli blockade for years. The enclave has lately come under added pressure from the Palestinian Authority which is refusing to reimburse funds to Israel for imports of electricity to the territory.

Senior Hamas officials on Sunday accused Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas of “crimes against humanity” through pressuring the Gaza Strip into renouncing allegiance to Hamas.

“The criminals in the PA (Palestinian Authority), you cut off power to the innocent people of the Strip, so God will cut off power to your hearts,” Zahar told a protest rally in the Gaza City.

Abbas warned last month that he would take “unprecedented” measures aimed at forcing Hamas to give up Gaza to the Palestinian Authority.

Haniyeh called Abbas “delusional” and said “whoever thinks he can bring Gaza to its knees is delusional. Because Gaza, its resistance, sacrifices, symbols and martyrs are in the heart of the Palestinian people.”

Last week, the Palestinian Authority informed Israel it would no longer pay for electricity provided by Tel Aviv to Gaza, despite the enclave already facing a crippling power shortage.

Earlier in April, the Authority cut salaries to its employees in the coastal enclave by 30 percent. It also slashed the salaries paid to Gaza families of Palestinian “martyrs” and prisoners.

The World Bank said on Thursday the power cuts have led to a “humanitarian crisis,” hitting hospitals, clinics, water supply and other vital services, as well as household needs.

The renewed push by the Palestinian Authority to regain a foothold in Gaza comes ahead of Abbas’s meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House later this week. Abbas is trying to show that he represents all Palestinians, including those in Gaza.

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