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Qatar’s Political Influence on Hamas

With its headquarters in Qatar, Hamas will have to accept the spirit and direction of its new patron, Emir Hamed Bin Khalifa Al Thani, writes Shlomi Eldar. 
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (R) and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani arrive at a cornerstone laying ceremony for Hamad, a new residential neighbourhood in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip October 23, 2012. The Emir of Qatar embraced the Hamas leadership of Gaza on Tuesday with an official visit breaking the isolation of the militant Palestinian Islamist movement, to the dismay of Israel and rival, Western-backed Palestinian leaders in the West Bank. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (G
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The shockwaves reverberating through Ramallah reached a climax on Saturday (April 13, 2013) with the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. It is against this background that Hamas’s political bureau will meet late this week in Qatar. It will be the political bureau’s first meeting since the recent elections. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will now be serving as deputy to Khaled Meshaal, who won his fourth bid to head Hamas. Haniyeh will be leaving Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Thursday (April 18) so that he can participate in this meeting, in which significant decisions about continued activities and the very future of the movement are expected to be made.

The main topics to be discussed during that meeting are reconciliation with Fatah, the temperamental relationship with Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood now that President Mohammed Morsi is in power, and ways to convince the international community to recognize Hamas as a legitimate movement in power, six years after it won the elections in the Palestinian Authority. There is, however, another question that will hover above all of these: How will Hamas act toward Israel and the West in the coming years.

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