Report: Hamas Political Head Haniyeh Can’t Leave Gaza

YERUSHALAYIM -
Ismail Haniyeh. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Hamas’s new political head, Ismail Haniyeh, is stuck in Gaza, Channel Ten reported — because neither Qatar nor any other Arab country is willing to give him an entry permit. As a result, Gaza sources said, Hamas has been suffering on the diplomatic and fund-raising front, because it does not have a political leader who can meet with supporters and foreign dignitaries.

Haniyeh was until recently the head of Hamas’s Gaza government, which in the organization constitutes a separate division from its political arm. Haniyeh left that job earlier this year in order to take on the political leadership of the organization, after Khaled Mashaal left that position.

Haniyeh had been based in Qatar, where Hamas’s political apparatus has been operating for the past several years. But recently, Qatar — after sharp criticism of its support for terror groups like Hamas by the United States — has been trying to keep a lower profile and cut ties with some of the more egregious terror groups, like Hamas. Haniyeh has not received a visa from Qatar, and efforts to obtain visas from other Arab countries have failed as well, the report said. The only country that has responded to the request has been Iran, but Hamas has declined that invitation, the report said.