- js reader version
- email this article
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Edmund Sanders,
Saturday, Dec. 08, 2012 at 8:24 PM
"Journalist" Harry Fear and friends in Gaza
harry_fear_and_friends.jpg, image/jpeg, 807x486
AFAH, Gaza Strip — Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal set foot in the Gaza Strip for the first time Friday, emerging from the Egyptian border with his hand over his heart and telling jubilant supporters that his visit marked a new era in the pursuit of Palestinian independence.
Though Meshaal has led the Islamist militant group since 2004, traveling to its Gaza-based home was unthinkable just a month ago because of fear that Israel might assassinate him as it did his two predecessors.
But the Nov. 21 cease-fire agreement that ended an eight-day clash with Israel emboldened Meshaal to make a victory lap through the seaside territory, culminating Saturday with an outdoor celebration to mark the group's 25th anniversary.
"I say I'm returning to Gaza even though I have never been before because it's always been in my heart," he told the crowd, fighting back tears.
The visit underscores Hamas' rising political clout in a Middle East reshaped by the "Arab Spring." But it also has many wondering how the militant group will use its newfound prominence, and what role Meshaal will play.
Meshaal, a West Bank native who spent most of his life as a refugee or in exile, was expected to step down as head of the political bureau in coming months, after secret Hamas elections to select a new leader.
Meshaal leads a more moderate, pragmatic Hamas faction against a rival group of Gaza-based hard-liners. He has said he no longer wants the job.
Yet on the heels of the recent clash with Israel, some predict that Meshaal, 56, will want to remain at the helm at such a crucial time.
During his visit, he looked and talked more like someone running for office than someone getting ready to fade away.
"This is just the beginning," Meshaal said, adding that his visit to Gaza felt like a rebirth. "Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah, Jerusalem and then Haifa and Jaffa." He was referring to, in order, the West Bank city that hosts the Palestinian Authority headquarters, the city both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital, and two Israeli cities with large Arab populations.
Some in Hamas' leadership are lobbying for him to stay.
"He's unique, with a good political mind and support from all the factions," said Hamas Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad. "I wish he'd continue."
The next Hamas leader will play a significant role in determining the intensity of the conflict with Israel as well as the possible reconciliation with Fatah, Hamas' rival Palestinian party in the West Bank.
Meshaal, who recently left the chaos in Syria for the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, is a leading proponent of ending the division with the secular Fatah, and says he would accept a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders, which some view as de facto recognition of Israel.
And though he refuses to give up armed resistance, he supports signing a long-term cease-fire agreement. At one point during his visit Friday, members of the crowd passed him a rifle, expecting him to hold it over his head in a sign of military triumph. He shook his head and brushed it aside.
Meshaal is facing a challenge from hard-liners, such as Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and senior official Mahmoud Zahar, who are skeptical of reconciliation with Fatah and say armed resistance is the only path to ending the Israeli occupation. Over the last year, Zahar and Meshaal have clashed openly about the future direction of Hamas.
"We should not be speaking about just one person," Zahar said Friday when asked about Meshaal's future during the welcoming ceremony. "This is a symbolic victory for all Hamas leaders and Islamic Jihad leaders. It shows Israel that we control our land."
Though some Western diplomats hope Meshaal will moderate the group's behavior, Israelis dismiss Hamas' internal power struggles as irrelevant. They note that the group, which Israel and the U.S. label a terrorist organization, refuses to renounce violence, recognize Israel or accept past peace accords.
Report this post as:
INDY's KPFK radio program being eliminated ? too ?
Bertolt Brecht Testifies Before the House Un-American Activities Committee (1947) 2 min
Pacifica-KPFK Archives, director resignation
SAVE KPFK & PACIFICA: VOTE IN THIS CRUCIAL ELECTION!
KPFK radio elections for LSB coming Quick !
KPFK Local Station Board Elections In-Progress
Black Lives Matter Activist Jasmine Abdullah Sentenced Three Months in Jail on Attempted Lynching Charge
Why are the Park Rangers making it even more difficult for the homeless in Los Angeles?
Bernie Sanders in Lincoln Heights
Los Angeles Sit-In to Fight Voter Suppression
War Within California's 46th CD
NPR's David Greene & Alison Aubrey along with David Ludwig Shill For Factory Farm Eggs
2016 AT&T Shareholders engaged by Communications Workers of America D9 Activists
Communications Workers of America District 9 Action at AT&T Shareholders
Voter Registration at ELAC
LA Times Fails to Cover Protest Against Clinton
Violence Against Poor In Venice
California Safe Schools Honors 11 Year Old Daniel Randall
NPR's Marketplace: The Voice of Loanshark Capitalism
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, Pandering to the Corporate Whores of the Storage Industry
Lartiste Maestro iTunes télécharger de la musique gratuit et Légalement 2016
Spring 2016 National Immigrant Solidarity Network Monthly News Alert!
KPFK and Pacifica, more doings, reposted here
More Local News...
America by Killing Joke
American exceptionalism presents an election made in hell
America's Promise & The Grim Reality
Verizon Please Protect Yahoo Groups Subscribers
Puño de Hierro en Turquía
Adresse à la censure/modération
Paraphysique de l'atimie
UN Summit Reaches Debt, Tax and Trade Agreements
Fbi thugs continue assaults on me and now on my wife
The Social State Benefits All of Us
Fantômas, la réaction se déchaîne
Fbi/ MAFIA seize America
Holy See Calls on UN Development Summit to Build an Inclusive Economy
Kurt Vonnegut's 7 Pieces of Advice
Negotiators Struggle for Agreement on Debt and Tax Issues at UN Development Summit
VOID NETWORK On the tragic and the farcical of the British referendum An analysis about B
Bernie Sanders Wins at the End
Angelenos plan LAX protest of Turkey’s Dirty War against Kurds
June 2016 Honduras coup update
The Shortwave Report 07/15/16 Listen Globally!
assaults by fbi cleverly perpetrated
repost by geral sosbee on fbi's murderous corruption
Geral Sosbee, former fbi agent illuminates fbi's murderous corruption
Murderous Police & Their fbi Mentors
fbi are human monsters
The Animal Rights Record Of Each Congressperson
Fbi is MAFIA-USA
More Breaking News...