Daily Israel Report

Hamas: Politburo Not Moving to Qatar

Hamas Gaza chief Ismail Haniyeh ruled out Doha as the new headquarters for the terror group's politburo during his visit to Qatar.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 2/2/2012, 4:01 PM

Doha, Qatar
Doha, Qatar
GNU/Amjra


The Hamas terror movement on Thursday dismissed rumors it plans to open its new politburo offices in Qatar.

“We have no intention to open an office in Doha,” Hamas' Gaza chief Ismail Haniyeh told reporters in Doha.

“All of Doha is an office for our movement thanks to the love and cordiality that the Qatari leaders have provided for the Palestinians,” he said.

His remarks come amid speculation over where Hamas will open its new politburo offices as it makes a "soft-exit" from Syria due to mounting tensions with authorities there.

Hamas was initially critical of the brutal crackdown of President Bashar al-Assad on anti-regime protesters in Syria, but then tamped down its rhetoric and began looking for a new home.

The row also cost Hamas significant contributions from Iran, which regards Assad as a key player in its push for regional hegemony, and created a chill in relations.

In the aftermath Hamas cracked down on several Shi'ite and Salafi organizations in Gaza who receive Iranian funds and were contesting its grip on the coastal enclave.

Haniyeh's recent invitation to Tehran from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been widely seen as an attempt to thaw relations and keep Hamas aligned with the Islamic Republic.

Pundits have suggested Doha, Tunis, and Amman might host Hamas. However, Jordan has refused to lift its ban on the movement and Hamas says Tunis "is not an option."

Both Tunisia and Jordan receive large amounts of  foreign aid dollars from Washington, which has blacklisted Hamas as a terror organization.

Haniyeh is on the second leg of his tour to strengthen ties with and raise funds from Arab and Muslim countries, which includes Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Iran.

The first leg of his tour, concluded in December 2011, included Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Tunisia.