Islamist extremist group Hamas, which dreams of destroying Israel, has re-elected Ismail Haniya as its supreme leader. The Shura Council, the highest decision-making body in Hamas, has given Haniya a new four-year term. It is being told that no other candidate inside the organization stood up to challenge Ismail Haniya and he was elected unopposed.
Ismail Haniya is an associate of Hamas founder
Ismail Haniya is a former associate of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin. Yasin was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike in 2004. Ismail Haniya was appointed as the Prime Minister of Palestine after winning the parliamentary election in 2006. However, on 14 June 2007, Haniya was sacked by President Mahmoud Abbas due to the ongoing conflict between Fatah and Hamas.
Even after being sacked, Haniya continued to call himself the Prime Minister.
Haniya did not obey the orders of Mahmud Abbas at that time. He seceded from the Palestinian government and returned to the Gaza Strip, a stronghold of Hamas, and continued to serve as prime minister himself. He described AAP as the prime minister of Palestine until 6 May 2017 when he became the head of Hamas’ political bureau. Fatah is the oldest party in Palestine and President Mahmoud Abbas is the leader of that party.
Born in a refugee camp
Ismail Haniya was born in the Al-Shati refugee camp in the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip. His parents became refugees after fleeing their home in Ashkon during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He attended UN-run schools and graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza in 1989 with a degree in Arabic literature. He joined Hamas during his university studies. From 1985 to 1986, he was the head of the student council representing the Muslim Brotherhood.
Join Hamas while studying
It was during his studies that the first intifada against Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip began. During this time, Haniya participated fiercely in these protests on behalf of Hamas. As a result, he came under the radar of the Israeli military. In 1988 he was captured by the Israeli security agency and sent to prison for six months. After his release in 1989, he was sentenced to three years in prison.
Has been sentenced to three years in Israeli prison
After his release in 1992, the Israeli occupation authorities deported him to Lebanon along with senior Hamas leaders Abdel-Aziz al-Rantisi, Mahmoud Jahr, Aziz Duwaik and 400 other activists. These people were kept in Maraj al-Zahor in southern Lebanon for more than a year. It was from here that all these leaders got exposure in the global media and became known worldwide.
Haniya’s stature increased because of Israel
When Israel released Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin from prison in 1997, he appointed Haniya as the head of his office. Due to his close association with Yasin, the influence of Haniya increased in Hamas. That is why he was appointed as the representative of the Palestinian Authority. During the Second Intifada, Israel killed several top Hamas leaders, the other being close to Ahmed Yassin. Due to this, he came to a very high position in the organization.