Hamas

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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MPs urge UK-Hamas talks

By Bernard Josephs, July 30, 2009

The influential House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee this week called for the UK government to talk to Hamas, and in so doing end the international embargo on dealing with the organisation.

In its report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which sparked expressions of concern from Jewish leaders, the committee also criticised Israel’s reaction to rocket attacks from Gaza as disproportionate.

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Hamas PM banned from Facebook

By Jessica Elgot, July 27, 2009

Facebook has removed the fan page for Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, costing him 10,000 facebook friends.

But the social networking site has not issued an official statement as to why the page was deleted.

The more popular Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal who has 17,000 friends still remains on the site.

More than 10,000 people were "friends" with the Gazan PM on Facebook, and the organisation has received dozens of complaints demanding the page be reinstated, London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat reported.

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Is this man the IDF’s best British friend?

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

Speaking up for the Israel Defence Force is unlikely to win many friends — but it has turned one man into the most unlikely new star on YouTube.

Colonel Richard Kemp was the commander of British forces in Afghanistan in 2003 and even he admits he is surprised by his new-found fame.

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Palestinian support for Hamas sliding, poll shows

By Jessica Elgot and Reuters, June 29, 2009

Support for Hamas has dropped by almost ten per cent, an opinion poll has shown.

The survey of 1,199 people, by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC), put public support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at 18.8 per cent, compared with 27.7 per cent in its previous poll in January.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction is now more popular than Hamas with a 34.9 per cent rating, up from 26 percent in January, indicating the group could take the next election in Gaza.

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