Written by Staff Writer
Ismail Haniyeh is the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. He was re-elected in the Hamas-led state of Gaza, after being elected as prime minister in 2006, and has been one of the group’s more public leaders in the nearly seven years since the violent Palestinian uprising began.
One of the high-profile leaders of Hamas, Haniyeh has led nearly two years of a Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip. He still has to run against incumbent Salam Fayyad, who headed the Palestinian Authority from 2006 to 2011, in a Palestinian presidential election later this year.
Fluent in English, Haniyeh has taken more public stances against Israel than most other members of the militant group, but he has denied any ambition to lead the international resistance to the Jewish state.
An in-demand speaker and author, Haniyeh has authored four books that have received multiple translations worldwide. He has also taught at the Islamic University of Gaza.
Though leaders of Hamas maintain that their group is committed to not pursuing violence, Haniyeh has called for destroying Israel. And he has implied that the group’s indiscriminate use of rockets in Gaza was in part a reaction to the 2006 war with Israel.
After the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas, which resulted in the deaths of over 140 Palestinians — mostly civilians — and 34 Israelis, Haniyeh suggested, “We told the international community we need to be careful in the way we talk about and condemn bloodshed. Unfortunately, in the past this was not taken seriously.”