Khaled Mashal

Occupation:

Politician

Designation: Palestinian Political Leader
Institution / Org:

Hamas

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Khaled Mashal (Born 28 May 1956) is a Palestinian political leader and the leader of the Hamas political bureau since the Israeli assassination of Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi in 2004.

After the founding of Hamas in 1987, Mashal came to lead the Kuwaiti branch of the organization. He moved from Kuwait to Jordan in 1991. Since the expulsion of the Hamas leadership from Jordan in August 1999, Mashal lived in Qatar before moving to the Syrian capital of Damascus in 2001. He returned to Qatar in 2012 as a result of the Syrian civil war.

Early life

Mashal was born in Silwad, a village north of Ramallah, in 1956. He attended Silwad Elementary School until the 1967 Six-Day War. His father moved the family to Kuwait afterwards for financial reasons. Mashal joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1971. Mashal earned a bachelor of science degree in Physics from Kuwait University.

Membership with Hamas

While at Kuwait University, Mashal headed the Islamic Justice (qa’imat al-haq al-islamiyya) list in the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) elections in 1977.

The basis for the Islamic Justice list was the Palestinian Islamic movement, as part of the Muslim Brotherhood. After the cancellation of the GUPS elections, Mashal established the Islamic League for Palestinian Students (al-rabita al-islamiyya li talabat filastin) in 1980. Mashal was a teacher in Kuwait from 1978 to 1984. He was married in 1980 and is the father of three daughters and four sons.

In 1983, the Palestinian Islamic movement convened an internal, closed conference in an Arab state, which included delegates from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Palestinian refugees from various Arab states. It was an important milestone as it laid the foundation for the creation of Hamas. Mashal was part of the leadership of the project to build a Palestinian Islamic movement from its inception. After 1984, he devoted himself to the project on a full-time basis.

Mashal lived in Kuwait until the 1991 Gulf War. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, then moved to Jordan and began working directly with Hamas. He has been a member of Hamas' Political Bureau since its inception and became its chairman in 1996. Mashal is in control of $2.6 billion. Most of the money comes from donations to Hamas as well as real estate investments. Mashal does not always separate Hamas's finances from his own personal finances.

Reception

2010, the British magazine New Statesman listed Khaled Mashal at number 18 in the list of "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures 2010". In February 2012, as the Syrian civil war progressed, Meshal left Syria and returned to Qatar. Soon after, he announced his support for the Syrian opposition.


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