Can Hamas Elections Shift the Status Quo?

With a new administration set to enter the White House early next year, there is hope for a renewal of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  One of the key players who will play a role in any potential negotiations, Hamas, is set to undergo an election of its own in the coming months, and the stakes could not be higher.

In July, reports circulated that Hamas’ longtime leader and Political Bureau Chief, Khaled Mashal, would not seek reelection after serving in his post for 20 years. “Mashal has been slowly losing influence,” explained Rob Richer, Cipher Brief expert and former Associate Deputy Director for Operations at the CIA. “He lives in Qatar, may be viewed as a tool of the Qatari government, and has become less identifiable to the people on the streets of Gaza. So there was an internal push for change,” he continued.

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