7 December 2012 03:25 ET
The exiled political leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, is due to make his first ever visit to Gaza to mark the organisation’s 25th anniversary.
Mr Meshaal has not set foot in the Palestinian territories since leaving the West Bank in 1967 and is scheduled to address a mass rally on Saturday.
His visit follows a ceasefire that ended days of violence between Hamas-run Gaza and Israel last month.
The Islamist militant group has governed Gaza since 2007.
‘Made in Gaza’
Mr Meshaal is due to enter Gaza from Egypt. Officials at the Rafah border crossing said his wife had arrived late on Thursday.
Mr Meshaal is expected to visit the home of late Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, as well as that of Ahmed Jabari, the military commander killed in an Israeli strike last month.
Jabari’s death marked the start of an eight-day Israeli offensive which Israel said was aimed at halting militant rocket attacks. Some 170 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.
1956 – Born in Silwad in West Bank
1967 – Moves with family to Kuwait after Six Day War
1971 – Joins Muslim Brotherhood
1987 – Hamas created
1991 – Moves to Jordan after Iraq invades Kuwait. Runs Hamas fundraising
1997 – Survives Israeli assassination attempt
1999 – Expelled from Jordan. Moves to Qatar
2001 – Moves to Syria
2004 – Named Hamas political leader after assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
2012 – Leaves Damascus for Egypt and Qata
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement that Mr Meshaal’s visit was “a fruit of the victory of the resistance over the occupation”.
A huge rally on Saturday is expected to be the centrepiece of his three-day tour.
BBC Middle East correspondent Yolande Knell says Mr Meshaal is scheduled to address the rally in Gaza City and will talk about the organisation’s future strategy towards Israel.
Mr Meshaal is also expected to discuss reconciliation moves with the Fatah movement, which Hamas removed from Gaza by force in 2007 and which now rules parts of the West Bank.
In 2011, Mr Meshaal and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – the Fatah leader – endorsed an Egyptian plan to reconcile the rival factions.
Although attempts to forge a Palestinian government of national unity have since stalled, Mr Meshaal told Reuters ahead of his Gaza visit that “there is a new mood that allows us to achieve reconciliation”.
Mr Meshaal was quick to praise Mr Abbas’s recent success in upgrading Palestinian status at the United Nations to that of a non-member “observer state”.
In response to that move, Israel announced it would move ahead with building thousands of new homes in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Correspondents say Israel – which along with the US and EU considers Hamas a terrorist organisation – appears to be turning a blind eye to Mr Meshaal’s visit.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that Israel had no say over who entered Gaza from Egypt.
“We have no position on different individuals within Hamas,” he said, according to AP news agency. “Hamas is Hamas is Hamas.”
On Thursday, Palestinian workers were setting up a stage for Saturday’s rally that included a replica of a type of rocket Hamas has fired into Israel. “Made in Gaza,” was written on it.
Leader in exile
Mr Meshaal was born in the West Bank in 1956. He moved to Kuwait after the 1967 Middle East war and later Jordan, where his involvement with Hamas began.
Mr Meshaal survived an Israeli assassination attempt in Jordan in 1997 and was briefly jailed there, before being expelled and travelling to Qatar.
He became Hamas’s political leader in exile in 2004 when Sheikh Yassin was assassinated by Israel.
Mr Meshaal ran operations from Damascus until February this year, when the unrest there prompted another move. He now bases himself in Qatar and Egypt.
Hamas was created in 1987 after the beginning of the first intifada – or Palestinian uprising – against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Under its charter, Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
281354 4518113 46
his path of destiny = 46 = History. The past. Historic. Making history.
Sex Numerology available at:
discover some of your own numerology for FREE at:
learn numerology from numerologist to the world, Ed Peterson:
numerology for Friday December 21st, 2012 (the “end of the Mayan calendar”) at:
comprehensive summary and list of predictions for 2012:
predictions for the year 2013 are at: