For the first time, Hamas places women at top political positions

The two women, Jameela al-Shanti and Fatima Sharab, had been active in Hamas for decades.

Palestinian lawmaker Jamilah al-Shanti (R) of Hamas attends a parliament session in Gaza July 22, 2007. The parliament session for a vote of confidence was cancelled because Fatah lawmakers did not attend. (photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS)
Palestinian lawmaker Jamilah al-Shanti (R) of Hamas attends a parliament session in Gaza July 22, 2007. The parliament session for a vote of confidence was cancelled because Fatah lawmakers did not attend.
(photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS)
For the first time, the Hamas Majlis al-Shura (Shura council) placed two women within top leadership positions at its General Consultative Council, Ynet reported on Sunday. 
They are head of the Hamas women’s movement, Fatima Sharab, and Palestinian Legislative Council for Hamas member, Jameela al-Shanti. Both women have been active Hamas members for decades.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, 58, was recently reelected to serve until 2025. 
His victory came less than 24 hours after Gaza sources announced that Nizar Awadallah, a veteran Hamas official, had defeated Sinwar in the terrorist group’s secret internal election. 
Shortly afterward, Awadallah, 63, was proclaimed the winner, but Hamas announced that a second round of voting would be held on Wednesday because he and Sinwar had failed to secure more than 50% of the overall vote.
Awadallah and Sinwar were among five candidates who contested the secret Hamas internal election. The other three candidates were Mahmoud Zahar, Fathi Hammad and Ziyad al-Thatha.
Sources close to Hamas said that the neck-and-neck race constituted an unprecedented challenge to Sinwar’s leadership. He was first elected as the group’s leader in the coastal enclave in 2017.
Writing for The Guardian in 2006, al-Shanti said that nobody in the West ever defended her rights when her house, the home of an MP, was demolished or when her relatives were "killed by Israel's bombs."
"Not one word from those who claim to be defenders of women's rights on Capitol Hill and in 10 Downing Street," she wrote.
Her late husband, Hamas cofounder Aziz al-Rantisi, was killed by the IAF in 2004.  

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.