Gaza-Iran is seeking to influence Hamas Movement’s internal elections by pushing its favorite candidate Ismail Haniyeh to the presidency of the political bureau, Palestinian sources said.
Hamas will hold elections at the end of this year to choose a replacement for Khaled Mashaal.
Mashaal’s term as a chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau has already ended. He is not allowed to run for a third term because he had been already elected as Hamas chairman for two consecutive terms.
The movement’s internal elections are expected next November and December as a preparation for the election of the political bureau.
Hamas is currently studying the possibility of introducing some amendments to the way elections are conducted and to the authorities of the political bureau chairman, the members and the Shura Council, in addition to the seat of the movement’s chairman.
The sources said Tehran was exerting a lot of efforts, through General Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds force, to secure the election of Haniyeh at the expense of candidate Moussa Abu Marzouq, who had previously accused Iran of being dishonest in its support for Hamas.
The sources added that a month ago, Soleimani tasked a member of Al-Quds Brigade to coordinate with radical Palestinian movements and organizations, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Harakat al-Sabireen.
According to some information, Soleimani is seeking through the new coordinator to convince the political leadership of the movement that Turkey, under the presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and particularly after Ankara’s latest agreement with Israel and the failed coup attempt, would turn its back on commitments regarding Hamas.
Therefore, Iran is telling Hamas that it cannot depend on Erdogan’s pledges to establish a port facing the Gaza Strip’s coast that could facilitate breaking the Israeli siege. Tehran is also convincing Hamas that sooner or later, the movement will be forced out of Turkey.
The sources also said that the Iranian coordinator was already holding meetings with representatives of Palestinian movements in Tehran, including Hamas representative Khaled al-Qaddoumi and Islamic Jihad official Nasser Abu Sherif.
“One eye on Palestine, and another eye on Syria,” the sources said when describing the priorities of Soleimani, adding that despite being busy with the ongoing fighting in Syria, the Iranian general follows up the political Palestinian file, which is also important to Iran.
Meanwhile, sources said that Hamas leaders were currently discussing the possibility of increasing the authorities of the political bureau chairman, allowing him to take important decisions by simply coordinating with head of the movement’s Shura Council without having to refer to members of the political bureau.
Hamas leaders were also discussing the possibility of changing the residency of the chairman by allowing him to reside inside Palestinian territories. Since Israel’s assassination of Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi in 2004, the movement decided that chairmen of Hamas political bureau should reside outside the Palestinian territories for security reasons.