The extremist Islamist group Hamas, which dreams of destroying Israel, has re-elected Ismail Haniya as supreme leader. The Shura Council, Hamas’ highest decision-making body, has given Haniya a new four-year term. It is said that no other candidate within the organization stood up to challenge Ismail Haniya and that he was elected without opposition.
Ismail Haniya is an associate of the founder of Hamas
Ismail Haniya is a former partner of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin. Yasin was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike in 2004. Ismail Haniya was appointed Prime Minister of Palestine after winning the 2006 legislative elections. However, on June 14, 2007, Haniya was sacked by President Mahmoud Abbas due to the ongoing conflict between Fatah and Hamas.
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Even after being sacked, Haniya continued to call himself Prime Minister.
Haniya did not obey Mahmud Abbas’ orders at that time. He broke with the Palestinian government and returned to the Gaza Strip, a Hamas stronghold, and continued to serve as prime minister himself. He described the AAP as the prime minister of Palestine until May 6, 2017, when he became the head of Hamas’s political bureau. Fatah is the oldest party in Palestine and President Mahmoud Abbas is the leader of this party.
Born in a refugee camp
Ismail Haniya was born in 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 president of the student council representing the Muslim Brotherhood.
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Join Hamas while studying
It was during his studies that the first Intifada began against the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Haniya fiercely participated in these protests on behalf of Hamas. As a result, it went under the radar of the IDF. 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.
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 held in Maraj al-Zahor, in southern Lebanon, for over a year. It was from there that all of these leaders were exposed in the global media and became known around the world.
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Haniya’s stature increased because of Israel
When Israel released Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin from prison in 1997, it appointed Haniya to head its office. Due to his close association with Yasin, Haniya’s influence has grown within Hamas. That is why he was appointed representative of the Palestinian Authority. During the Second Intifada, Israel killed several senior Hamas leaders, the other being close to Ahmed Yassin. For this reason, he came to a very high position in the organization.