In a rare move, the Hamas terror group in Gaza, publicly exposed the composition of the recently-elected Shura Council and members of the organization’s political bureau in the Gaza Strip that includes a woman for the first time in the organization's history.
Jamila Shanti formerly served as a minister and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Another woman who will serve under Hamas’ leadership but was not be appointed to the Shura Council is Fatma Sharab, who was elected to head the organization’s women’s movement.
The new Shura Council, Hamas’ supreme advisory council which is instrumental in determining Hamas’ policies, convened Sunday for its first meeting and elected the various functionaries and members of the movement’s political bureau, headed by Yahya Sinwar, who is continuing for another four-year term as Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip.
Sinwar’s deputy in the political bureau will be Khalil al-Haya. Nizar Awadallah, who threatened Sinwar’s leadership in four rounds of voting, will serve as a member of the Shura Council, like all members of the political bureau.
Another prominent member of the Shura Council is Mahmoud al-Zahar, who is considered to be the biggest supporter of Hamas’ alliance with Iran and its so-called foreign minister.
The Council, which in the past was secret and its members were not exposed, also elected the heads of the various committees.
The Shura Council will be headed by Osama Mazini, known as Abu Hamam, who previously served as Minister of Education in the Hamas government and who held the Gilad Shalit portfolio.
Maher Saabra, a journalist, will be appointed assistant to the Shura Council but will not be a full member.
Ruhi Mishtaha, one of the founders of Hamas and an associate of Sinwar, and Fatah Hamad, also joined the Council. Hamad currently heads an armed militia in the Gaza Strip. He was previously a member of Hamas’ Majd squad that eliminated collaborators and led a series of terror attacks. Hamad headed Hamas’ al-Aqsa media network and served as the interior minister.
Another member, Marwan Issa, the head of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip, is very close to Sinwar and arch-terrorist Muhammad Def. Together with Sinwar, he transferred his support to Ismail Haniya, who is currently running for the post of head of the Hamas General Political Bureau against Khaled Mashaal.
Another member is Suhail al-Hindi, who was the head of the UNRWA officials’ association in the Gaza Strip while he was a senior Hamas figure and left his post following an Israeli protest.
Another member is Salah Bardawil, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and former editor of Hamas’ Al-Rissala weekly.
Ghazi Hamad, a former Hamas government spokesman and editor of Al-Rissala and Al-Watan, and who was in charge of the Hamas crossings, was also elected to the Council, as was Ismail Barhoum.
The “second-tier” members, who are fairly anonymous and who will lead Hamas in the coming years, were also elected, including Samah Saraj, Zakaria Abu Maamar, Juad Abu Shamala, Kamal Abu Aun – an educator, and Azzam Delis, who is close to Hamas leader Haniyah.
Hamas’ decision to expose the names of the Shura Council members is indicative of its attempt to transition from a terrorist group to a government body.