London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Hamas movement has postponed selecting a new Political Bureau chief in a clear bid to persuade incumbent, Khalid Mishal, to nominate himself for a fifth term.
An Informed Palestinian source told Asharq Al-Awsat that delaying the convening of the Hamas Shura Council is meant to give Arab, Palestinian, and Islamic parties’ more time to pressure Mishal to change his mind.
The source which spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity said that the increased pressure on Mishal is due to the change in the positions of many leaders from the movement locally, especially after the recent Israeli war on Gaza and Mishal’s visit to the Strip.
The source pointed out that elements in Hamas based abroad, which previously had reservations about Mishal are now convinced that he should continue to lead in the present circumstances. Meanwhile, those who still have reservations are no longer vocal due to Mishal current popularity.
The main source pressure on Mishal today comes from the Egyptian side, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood; the source told Asharq Al-Awsat. The Muslim Brotherhood views Mishal as the individual that can lead the movement toward national reconciliation, which would end Palestinian division. The source said that several Arab and Islamic parties, such as Qatar and Turkey, are also exerting pressure on Mishal to go back on his decision to quit his post.
The source went on to say that despite the sporadic quarrels that break out between Fatah and, the two movements have come to the realization that achieving national reconciliation is an urgent interest for both sides. The source stressed that as far as Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas is concerned, he realizes that the success of the moves he is planning on the international level depends on his ability to restore the unity of Palestinians in the West Bank. The source said that many European sides have become receptive to the Israeli argument that Abbas cannot represent the Palestinians because of the existence of two governments in Gaza and Ramallah.