Haniya (Haniyeh), Ismail 'Abd Al-Salaam Ahmad

(Abu Al-'Abd)
   Senior Hamas leader. Born in 1962 in the al-Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, he headed Hamas's "Change and Reform" Party that won the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) election that occurred on 25 January 2006, taking 74 of 132 seats compared to 45 for the incumbent Fatah. Haniya formally became prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA) when the composition and program of his Hamas-dominated government was ratified by the PLC on 29 March 2006. From the outset, Haniya's ability to govern was tested from various quarters. These included Hamas's political leader, Khaled Mashaal, based in Damascus; PA president Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazan); elements of Fatah that refused to recognize the legitimacy of Hamas's electoral victory; and militant cells of Haniya's own Hamas movement that were unwilling to abide by the centralized discipline through which Hamas — as an accountable governmental institution—now had to operate. Also undermining Haniya's effectiveness was the severe economic deprivation in the Palestinian areas resulting largely from Hamas's refusal to meet the conditions established by the Middle East Quartet to permit the continued direct transfer of developmental funds to the Hamas-led PA: an unambiguous end to violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements with Israel, including the Roadmap. See also ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT; QASSAM MISSILE; SHALIT, GILAD (1986- ); SUICIDE BOMBINGS; TARGETED ASSASSINATIONS; TERRORISM.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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