Khaled Mashal became the leader of Hamas after the Israeli assassinations of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and Abdel Aziz Al-Rantisi in 2004. Mashal is the head of Hamas’s political bureau and is the international representative for the Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation. He was re-elected in April 2013.
Fighter for Social Justice: Since becoming head of Hamas, Mashal has seen the organization through multiple attempts at a roadmap to peace and a major Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip.
Pioneering Leader: Mashal has been recognized for his persistence with Hamas’s effort. His determination is combined with a unique effort at diplomacy. Mashal has shown a willingness to negotiate with Israel to return to the 1967 borders and grant Palestinians a right of return, while importantly implying the necessary existence of the State of Israel, despite Hamas’s historic denial of that possibility. Mashal has been one of the most direct, and candid leaders in dialogue and confrontation with Israel and this has garnered international recognition.
Changing Times: The fall of Morsi saw Hamas lose their biggest supporter, and the new rulers of Egypt have shown that opening and sealing the Gaza—Rafah border is very much in their control. The conflict in Syria first signalled an end to Hamas offices in Damascus, and then strained relations with Hezbollah and Iran. Hamas’ new offices in Qatar along with support from Turkey show who their strongest backers are.