In Gaza, Anger Rises over Hamas Leaders' Travel

(AP-Al Arabiya) In recent months, high-profile Hamas officials have quietly decamped to upscale hotels in Beirut, Doha and Istanbul, stirring resentment among Gaza residents who see them as leading luxurious lives abroad while the economy collapses at home. Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh relocated to Qatar with his wife and several children in 2019. Political leader Fathi Hamad moved to Istanbul a year ago and frequently flies to Beirut, where media have shown him in meetings at a five-star hotel. Deputy leader Khalil al-Hayya also relocated to Turkey last year. Former government spokesman Taher Nounou and leader Ibrahim Salah moved to Doha, Qatar. Senior member Salah al-Bardawil, spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, and dozens of aides also have resettled in Doha, Istanbul, or Beirut. Several children of Hamas leaders are running lucrative real estate businesses for their parents in Istanbul. While Hamas casts leaders' stays abroad as temporary foreign tours aimed at drumming up support, some of these tours last for years. Azmi Keshawi, Gaza analyst at the International Crisis Group, said, "Ordinary Palestinians see that Hamas has gone from this humble Palestinian leadership who lived and struggled among the people to living in these comfortable zones where they are no longer suffering and seem far from the Palestinian cause and issues. Definitely people talk about this and draw comparisons in anger."

2023-01-12 00:00:00

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