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Why has Hamas extended Haniyeh’s foreign tour?

16 11 0
14.02.2020

Hamas has announced that its leader’s foreign tour will continue throughout 2020 in order to complete a very busy political and speaking schedule. The fact that Ismail Haniyeh will thus be out of the Gaza Strip for an entire year raises several important questions.

Why will he be abroad for such a long time even though his regional visits only needed a few weeks? Has Egypt banned him from returning to Gaza through the Rafah Crossing as a punishment for visiting Iran? Or did Hamas decide to keep him outside of Palestine so that he can conduct his visits without Egyptian restrictions, which have prevented such tours by Hamas leaders from Gaza for at least three years?

Haniyeh’s year abroad suggests that Hamas has a busy agenda, which requires him to shuttle between regional capitals. Will he be staying in Qatar or going to other countries, and if so, which ones? Don’t they fear US and Israeli repercussions for hosting the former Palestinian Prime Minister?

As the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Haniyeh is into his third month of his first foreign tour since taking the role in May 2017. He has already visited Egypt, Qatar, Iran, Oman, Turkey and Malaysia.

In the latter, he met veteran Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, while in Iran he offered condolences for the assassination General Qassem Soleimani, the late Quds Force commander. In Oman, he did the same following the death of Sultan Qaboos, and he........

© Middle East Monitor