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.