GAZA, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Gaza runner Bahaa al-Farra
treads carefully, braving the elements and potholed roads
ravaged by years of conflict between Palestinian militants and
the Israeli army, as he prepares to race at the London Olympics.
The 19-year-old trains for three hours a day in Gaza’s
Yarmouk soccer stadium, along the dusty streets and on the beach
in well worn trainers that were donated to the Palestine Olympic
Committee by wealthy Gulf state, Qatar.
GAZA (Reuters) – Hamas’s Gaza-based leadership challenged on Wednesday a Palestinian reconciliation deal signed by the Islamist group’s political chief in exile and President Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah movement.
Bringing divisions within Hamas to the surface, the group’s “Change and Reform” Gaza parliamentary bloc came out against a key clause in the pact under which Abbas would serve both as president and prime minister of a future Palestinian government.
GAZA (Reuters) – Dozens of Palestinians threw shoes, sticks and stones at U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s convoy as it crossed into the Gaza Strip Thursday, protesting against what they saw as a slight against Palestinians jailed in Israel.
No one was injured during the hostile welcome and the vehicles, which crossed into the Hamas-ruled territory from southern Israel, pushed through the crowd and sped away.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Political winds from the Arab Spring are filling the sails of the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas, as it seeks a course out of international isolation to the forefront of the Palestinian national movement.
Hamas’ ties to Syria and Iran are changing.
This week, the two top men in the 25-year-old organization dedicated to crushing the Jewish state and establishing Palestine “from the (Jordan) river to the sea” headed off in distinctly different directions for high-level talks, and they began to look intriguingly like rivals.
GAZA (Reuters) – The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, left Monday for a tour of Iran and Gulf states, continuing a diplomatic drive to realign the Palestinian Islamist movement after a year of political change in the Arab world.
Non-Arab Iran, along with its Arab ally Syria, have been principal backers of Hamas. Iran has supplied funds and – according to Israel – weapons to use against the Jewish state.
GAZA (Reuters) – The leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, has effectively abandoned his headquarters in the Syrian capital, Damascus, diplomatic and intelligence sources said on Friday.
“Meshaal is not staying in Syria as he used to do. He is almost out all the time,” said a diplomat in the region who spoke on condition on anonymity.
GAZA (Reuters) – Khaled Meshaal, the top political official of Palestinian Islamist faction Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip, will not seek reelection when a vote to choose its leadership is held soon, the group said on Saturday.
A Hamas statement said Council of his intention to step down, wanting to stress the path of democracy and bring in new blood to the leadership but the Shura Council will make the final call,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in Gaza.
GAZA (Reuters) – The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas urged President Mahmoud Abbas Friday to suspend exploratory peace talks with Israel following Israel’s arrest of two Hamas legislators, and to stop his cooperation on West Bank security with the Israelis.
Hamas’ Gaza Strip leader Ismail Haniyeh, recently back from a tour of Arab states, praised the rise of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world and predicted “black days” for Israel “because the nations know their path now.”
GAZA (Reuters) – The coming rise of Islamism in the Arab world will strengthen support for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which will not give up its armed confrontation with Israel, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar said Monday.
If Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas bets on peace talks with Israel rather than reconciling his Fatah movement with Hamas, he will lose out, Zahar said in an interview with Reuters in his Gaza office.
GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement said on Sunday it would have to re-evaluate its reconciliation pact with the Islamist Hamas group following the rejection of a Fatah visit to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip last week.
In a statement, Fatah’s Central Committee said Hamas’s behavior showed it was not interested in the implementation of the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo last year, which included the formation of a unity government and the holding of a parliamentary election on May 4.