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Zahar, Haniyeh pressured Meshaal into cease-fire

The cease-fire between Israel and Hamas signals the opening of a great battle over the movement's leadership, between Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal in Qatar and Gaza leaders such as Mahmoud al-Zahar.
Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh holds a gun as he appears for the first time since the start of a seven-week conflict during a rally by Palestinians celebrating what they said was a victory over Israel, in Gaza City August 27, 2014. An open-ended ceasefire in the Gaza war held on Wednesday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced strong criticism in Israel over a costly conflict with Palestinian militants in which no clear victor emerged. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT
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Shortly after the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel came into force on Aug. 26, Mahmoud al-Zahar left his hideaway and began a motorized victory parade through the streets of the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of Gazans cheered him on, pushed their way to the car that drove him and reached out to shake his hand. He smiled and looked content.

Zahar is a surgeon by profession and one of Hamas’ most scathing and sophisticated leaders. He knows that now that the great war with Israel has ended, the great battle begins for the movement's leadership and for the control of its key centers of influence. Therefore, even before the dust on the Gaza war had settled, Zahar hurried to leave his hideout (under Shifa Hospital?) to reap the fruits of victory. In other words, to return to Hamas’ center of action from which he had been suspended less than three years ago.

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