| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh leads group’s diplomacy as Gaza war rages

The head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, is located in Qatar and has been the tough-talking face of the Palestinian group’s diplomatic efforts abroad as fighting has raged in Gaza, where an Israeli airstrike in November destroyed his family’s home.

He was appointed to the highest position in the terrorist group in 2017 and has since moved between Doha, Qatar’s capital, and Turkey, avoiding the travel restrictions imposed by the blockaded Gaza Strip. This has allowed him to engage in negotiations for the most recent ceasefire agreement or speak with Iran, Hamas’ principal backer.

“All the agreements of normalisation that you (Arab states) signed with (Israel) will not end this conflict,” Haniyeh declared on Qatar-based Al Jazeera television shortly after Hamas fighters launched their assault on Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 200 people hostage.

Israel’s response has been a fierce military campaign that has killed more than 14,000 people inside Gaza so far. Two of Haniyeh’s grandchildren are among those killed, his family said.

For all the tough language in public, Arab diplomats and officials in the region view him as relatively pragmatic compared with more hardline voices inside Gaza, where the military wing of Hamas planned the Oct. 7 that shocked Israel to its core.

  • Reuters