S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, January 30, 2006

A look at Hamas leaders*

Hamas Leaders: The emergence of Hamas as the party in charge in Palestine is a new reality that must now be understood. The best way to find out about them is to get to know their leaders. It is always about the actual people, rather than an ideology, in my opinion.
Here is a bit of essential background on Hamas. Before the election, International Middle East Media Center News' George Rishmawi wrote that,
Fatah has been a vast majority in the past ten years of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The council as seen by the public was almost obsolete, and the Palestinian Authority's performance was unacceptable. This is, in fact, the strongest argument Hamas uses in its campaigning against Fatah and this can be read through the name of Hamas' list, "Change and Reform List."
This story begins with an election that turned into a big surprise. CBS News headlined Hamas wins majority in Palestine -
The Islamist group Hamas has captured 76 of 132 seats in the Palestinian parliament, according to near-total election results. INDEPTH: Hamas.
(The Hamas leader is) Ismail Haniyeh. . . . The Fatah party – which had dominated Palestinian politics for decades under Yasser Arafat and then Mahmoud Abbas – won only 43 seats, the Central Election Commission said in Ramallah on Thursday. "Today we woke up and the sky was a different colour," said Saeb Erekat, a Fatah legislator who has been the chief negotiator for the Palestinians. INDEPTH: Middle East.
"We have entered a new era." The senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, said the victory showed that Palestinians were fed up with Fatah and its peace overtures with Israel, which controls Palestinian areas in the West Bank. "This is a victory of the Palestinian people who voted against the occupation, who voted for resistance, who voted for a new political system based on political partnership," Haniyeh said.
Is this man #1? Ismail Hanaya: Hamas' "Reform and Change List" is headed by Ismail Haniya, from the Gaza Strip, who, according to Aljazeera today has,
has appealed to the European Union not to cut aid to a Palestinian government that might include the Islamic militant group. . . Haniya, who headed Hamas's list of candidates, also appealed to the so-called Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators - the United States, the EU, the United Nations and Russia - to talk to the Islamic group without preconditions.
The BBC profiles Ismail Haniya in a January 27 article. To quote,
Ismail Haniya headed Palestinian militant group Hamas' national list of candidates in January's legislative elections, in which they were the surprise victors. Mr Haniya rose to prominence as a close associate of Hamas' spiritual leader, the late Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, whose office he ran. But he is considered a moderate in the movement's ranks whose position on the list was intended to appeal to mainstream Palestinian voters. After the election results had been announced on Thursday, Mr Haniya said he would meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to start consultations on "a political partnership" and the make-up of a new government.
Major Leaders: Further research turned up some other significant Hamas leaders. They include, Mahmoud Zahar, Mushir al-Masri, and Khaled Meshaal, "the top leader of Hamas, living in exile in Syria." He is the one who called President Abbas and floated the possiblity of a coalition government. Fattah will form an opposition party, however, in order to rebuild their party.
Fatah: "The Fatah List" was headed by the jailed lawmaker, Marwan Barghouthi.
*Reference: (linked in this post's title above) Antidefamation League article detailing all the "Lists" contesting in the recent parlimenatry elections in Palestine.
The Rest: Four lists in addition to Fatah and Hamas (founded by Ahmed el-Malah), were also expected to win seats in the parliament:
  • "Abu Ali Mustafa List" headed by Ahmad Sa'adat, Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), currently in prison in Jericho.
  • "Alternative List" is a coalition of the Palestinian Peoples Party, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and the Palestinian Democratic Union plus independent candidates. Qais Abul-Karim (Abu Laila), is the senior official at the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and head of Al Badeel (the Alternative) elections list.
  • "The Third Way List" coalition of independent candidates led by the former Minister of Finance Salam Fayyad and Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, the former minister of Higher Education.

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