No BBC reporting on new Hamas leader in Gaza Strip

An article by Yolande Knell which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on October 28th (and was discussed here) informed audiences that:knell-abbas-art-main

“Increasingly, there are quiet discussions among ordinary Palestinians as well as Israeli officials and foreign diplomats about who could be the next leader [of the Palestinian Authority].

It is expected that Hamas will nominate Ismail Haniyeh, who is poised to take over as head of the Islamist movement.

A Hamas spokesman, Hazem Qassem, insists that any future presidential contest “must be an affair for all Palestinians, not an internal Fatah issue.”

However, without political reconciliation, his group could well be sidelined.” [emphasis added]

Since it was reported in June that Khaled Masha’al would not be running again for the post of head of Hamas’ executive committee the BBC has not produced coverage of that topic even though – as we see above – the corporation’s journalists in the region are obviously following developments.  BBC audiences will therefore be unaware of the fact that Ismail Haniyeh is on an extended visit to Qatar and that his interim replacement in the Gaza Strip is apparently Imad al Alami.

“The Hamas terror organization recently appointed a founding member with close ties to Syria and Iran to replace Ismail Haniyeh as the effective political leader in the Gaza Strip, sources said Sunday.

Haniyeh, who has been in charge of Hamas’s political activity in the enclave, left in early September for a series of visits to Arab and Muslim states, apparently aimed at paving his way to replace Khaled Mashaal as head of Hamas’s political bureau in Qatar. […]

Haniyeh’s replacement, Imad al Alami, 60, was born in Gaza, but only returned there a few years ago.

He lived for some time in Tehran, then moved to Damascus in 2008. He returned to Gaza after being the last Hamas leader to leave the Syrian capital; relations with Syrian leader Bashar Assad had soured at the start of the uprising there.”

Writing about Hamas’ internal difficulties in 2013, Ehud Ya’ari noted that:

“Other [Hamas] leaders have urged speedy reconciliation with Iran, emphasizing that Hamas cannot afford to divorce itself from the “resistance axis”. The most adamant proponent of this view is Imad al-Alami, the group’s former permanent envoy in Tehran and head of the “Intifada Committee,” now returned from Damascus to Gaza. He is supported by military figures such as Muhammad Deif and Marwan Issa, and by politicians such as Mahmoud al-Zahar.”

In 2006 the BBC described al Alami as “Hamas’ representative in Damascus” and in 2003 it reported his designation by the US government. A year later the corporation also covered al Alami’s additional designation by the UK government – which is apparently still in effect.

If the BBC does get round to reporting the Hamas leadership changes, it will be interesting to see whether its own previous reports are referenced.

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