Hamas Hawks Tighten Grip over Politbureau

Ramallah – The Hamas Movement published on Monday the names of some of its newly elected political bureau members, highlighting an increase in the presence of figures from its military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades.

Days after the election of Ismail Haniyeh as the new president of the Movement’s political bureau as the successor of Khaled Meshaal, Hamas revealed the names of some of the new members, while abstaining from issuing the complete list for security or other internal reasons.

New members include Moussa Abu Marzouk, Yehia al-Sanwar, Saleh al-Arouri, Khalil al-Haya, Mohammed Nazal, Maher Obeid, Izzat al-Rishq and Fathi Hamad.

The list comprises four senior members of Al-Qassam Brigades, known as the “Hawks”, including al-Sanwar, who is a Hamas leader in Gaza; al-Arouri, who is accused by Israel of executing attacks; Hamad, a Hamas former interior minister who is known for his fundamentalism; and Obeid, a military leader in the West Bank who was at one point jailed by Israel.

Well-informed sources told Asharq al-Awsat that the new political bureau also includes Rouhi Moushtaha, another leader of Al-Qassam Brigades, who is on the US terror list.

Both al-Sanwar and Hamaa are also designed as terrorists by the United States.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, political writer Akram Attallah said that the election of military officials in the Movement’s political bureau was due to declining confidence in the political leaders.

Earlier this month, Hamas officially announced its new political program by accepting the idea of a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967 border, but rejected to recognize Israel.

Days before leaving Hamas leadership, Khaled Meshaal announced the program at a press conference held in Doha, with the participation of the entire Hamas leadership from Gaza via videoconference.

“The Movement wanted this document to be a guide and a reference to anyone who wants to know about Hamas and its policies,” Meshaal said.