Hamas nominates Haniyeh as Palestinian PM
Updated: 2006-02-19 21:19
A Gaza lawmaker seen as a leader of Hamas' pragmatic wing was nominated
Sunday to be Palestinian prime minister.
Ismail Haniyeh, center, is seen after Friday prayers in Shati refugee camp
in Gaza, in this Feb. 17, 2006 file photo. Haniyeh, a prominent Hamas
leader in the Gaza Strip, was nominated Sunday, Feb. 19, 2006, to be
Palestinian prime minister. The militant group announced the nomination in
a text message, a day after its members were sworn into the new
Hamas-dominated Palestinian parliament.
The militant group announced Ismail
Haniyeh's nomination in a text message, a day after its members were sworn into
the new Hamas-dominated Palestinian parliament. The nomination was widely
Haniyeh, 46, has good working relations with the rival Fatah movement.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was expected later Sunday to formally give
Haniyeh the task of putting together a new Cabinet. Haniyeh would then have
three weeks to submit a government to Abbas for approval.
Addressing the parliament on Saturday, Abbas said he expected Hamas to honor
existing peace accords with Israel and halt violence. Hamas leaders rejected
those calls, but signaled a willingness to compromise.
On Sunday, Israeli acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ruled out any contact
with a Hamas-led government. The group has killed hundreds of Israelis in
suicide bombings and remains committed to Israel's destruction.
Born in Gaza's Shati refugee camp, Haniyeh graduated from Gaza City's Islamic
University in 1987 with a degree in Arabic literature and became a close
associate of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin.
Haniyeh was expelled by Israel to south Lebanon in 1992, returned to Gaza a
year later and became the dean of the Islamic University. In 1998, he took
charge of Yassin's office.
A pragmatist, he served as a liaison between Hamas and Palestinian Authority,
established in 1994 and dominated by the rival Fatah movement.
He rose to prominence after Israel's assassinations in 2004 of Yassin and
Yassin's successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi. He has been a member of the political
leadership of Hamas since the 1990s.