Hamas

Abbas may resign before election

By Jessica Elgot, November 9, 2009

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told Egyptian leaders that he may not wait until the next election to resign.

Mr Abbas has announced that he will not seek reelection as president of the Palestinian Authority.

The Egyptian delegation, led by the country’s Palestinian ambassador Yasser Othman, was visting Ramallah in order to try and urge Mr Abbas to continue as president, Haaretz reported.

Mr Abbas had come under fire in recent months because he did not immediately throw his backing behind the UN Goldstone Report, causing tensions between Hamas and Fatah.

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BBC says: we must give voice to Hamas

By Leon Symons, November 5, 2009

The BBC Trust has said that the terror organisation Hamas “should be treated fairly and a right of reply conferred where appropriate”.

The response was revealed after the Trust rejected a complaint from solicitor Andrew White, who runs a pro-Israeli website, beyondimages.info.

He had complained originally that a website article about a BBC Panorama programme on Gaza gave a “very skewed” view of Hamas, airbrushing out much of its violent actions against Israel and Palestinians in Gaza.

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How the Palestinians stoked, then stopped, a new intifada

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 15, 2009

Everything seemed to be in place for a third intifada. A bogged-down peace process, extreme politicians eagerly egging on their cohorts, rumours of Zionist plots to destroy the Temple Mount mosques, huge piles of rocks aimed at the heads of Jews at the Western Wall and all the religious fervour of Ramadan and the High Holy Days.

But in the end, the Jerusalem riots of the past couple of weeks petered out. Despite dire warnings from some former police officers and defence experts, a third uprising against Israel failed to ignite.

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Fatah seeks peace agreement with Hamas

By Jessica Elgot, October 14, 2009

Fatah have signed a preliminary truce deal with Hamas, amid rising tensions between the two Palestinian factions over the Goldstone Report.

But Hamas is yet to sign the agreement, and a spokesman for the party said their leadership would not be pressurised into peace.

Hamas has been strongly critical of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who originally refused to push for a UN debate on the Goldstone Report.

The UN-commissioned report had been critical of Israel’s conduct during the Gaza offensive earlier this year.

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Shalit video ‘shows Hamas is serious’

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 8, 2009

The main conclusion of Israeli experts who viewed the video of Gilad Shalit is that Hamas is eager to reach a deal on a prisoner exchange.

The two-and-a-half minute tape handed by Hamas to the German negotiator last week, and broadcast on Israeli television last Friday, confirmed the intelligence assessments regarding Shalit’s condition.

“Nothing we saw there on the tape caused us to fall off our chairs,” said one senior defence official, following detailed analysis of Shalit’s appearance on camera.

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Hamas bans Gaza women from motorcycles

By Jessica Elgot, October 7, 2009

Hamas has banned women from riding motorbikes in Gaza, raising fresh concerns over the movement’s ultra-conservative agenda.

The interior ministry said the ban was to "to preserve citizen safety and the stability of Palestinian society's customs and traditions".

The move is the latest step in an "Islamification" campaign by Hamas.

In July, a senior judge announce that female lawyers would be obliged to wear headscarves in court, a move slammed by human rights groups.

Hamas have also attempted to ban the display of women’s underwear in shop windows.

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Aviva Shalit: forgive us, my son

August 28, 2009

A senior Hamas official looks set to fly to Cairo shortly to approve a deal that includes the release of Gilad Shalit.

And the mother of the IDF soldier captured in June 2006, made a heartfelt plea for action with an apology to her son for “not being able to protect you”.

The trip by Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Meshal will follow efforts by German intelligence who have sent an official to Cairo to help mediate.

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Hamas’s new enemy? Even more radical Islamist set

By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem, August 27, 2009

Hamas is facing an unprecedented challenge, this time from even more extreme elements within Islam and Gaza.

It is responding by radicalising even further, imposing Islamic dress on schoolgirls, militarily crushing a breakaway mosque preacher and his followers, and undertaking a propaganda push in mosques and on the web.

The source of the pressure on the Hamas leaders is the Jihadi-Salafi Muslims, who believe in returning Islam to what they see as its pure form that existed at the time of Mohammed and his companions, and in using holy war to achieve this.

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Israelis and Hamas have secret talks in Switzerland

By Keren David, August 20, 2009

A secret “peace conference” held in Switzerland earlier this month brought together senior establishment figures from Hamas, Fatah and Israel to discuss a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

The meeting was organised by London-based group the Next Century Foundation, which describes itself as a “second track” diplomatic foundation working towards conflict resolution. Its first objective is to provide a forum for Israelis and Palestinians.

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Changes to Fatah boost pragmatists

By Ben Lynfield, Bethlehem, August 13, 2009

The election of new blood to the Fatah movement’s top ranks has brought hope that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will gain ground against political rivals Hamas.

“Those Israelis who really want a peace process that will last should be happy with the congress. Those like Netanyahu who want everything and to give up nothing should be unhappy,” said Nabil Shaath, a veteran peace negotiator and one of the few members of the movement’s old guard re-elected to Fatah’s central committee.

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