Ali Baraka is head of Hamas National Relations Abroad. “Hamas representative meets officials from Ansaruallh movement in Lebanon,” Hamas, February 9, 2022, https://hamas.ps/en/post/3917/Hamas-representative-meets-officials-from-Ansaruallh-movement-in-Lebanon. He previously acted as Hamas’s representative in Lebanon from 2011 to 2019.“Abdulhadi succeeds Baraka as Hamas Representative in Lebanon,” Hamas, January 10, 2019, https://hamas.ps/en/post/1834/Abdulhadi-succeeds-Baraka-as-Hamas-Representative-in-Lebanon. During that time Baraka met with international diplomats based in Lebanon on behalf of Hamas and spoke out in support of Hamas’s violent campaigns.
Despite Hamas’s designation as a terrorist group by several nations, Baraka maintained positive ties with multiple foreign leaders in Lebanon. In 2016, he met with an Iranian delegation to discuss Iranian-Palestinian relations.“Hamas representative meets with Iranian officials in Beirut,” The Palestinian Chronicle, September 2, 2016, https://www.palestinechronicle.com/hamas-representative-meets-iranian-officials-beirut/. In February 2017, Baraka met with Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Wang Kigian at the Chinese embassy in Beirut. Baraka criticized the Israeli government’s “plans to judaize Jerusalem” and alleged continuous Israeli attacks on the Islamic and Christian places in Jerusalem.“Hamas representative in Lebanon meets with the Chinese ambassador,” Hamas, February 15, 2017, https://hamas.ps/en/post/526/Hamas-representative-in-Lebanon-meets-with-the-Chinese-ambassador. He asked the Chinese government to intervene against Israeli aggression in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as to help end Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. According to Hamas, Kigian was keen to maintain good relations with the whole political spectrum of the Palestinian people and promised to inform his government about the Palestinians suffering in refugee camps.“Hamas representative in Lebanon meets with the Chinese ambassador,” Hamas, February 15, 2017, https://hamas.ps/en/post/526/Hamas-representative-in-Lebanon-meets-with-the-Chinese-ambassador. That August, Baraka delivered a letter to the Kuwaiti ambassador in Lebanon to pass on to Kuwaiti emir Sheikh Subah Ahmed El-Subah. The letter from Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh.“Hamas sends letter to Kuwaiti Amir,” Hamas, August 2, 2017, https://hamas.ps/en/post/905/Hamas-sends-letter-to-Kuwaiti-Amir.
Baraka also sought to exert Hamas’s influence over Lebanese policy. Following several violent clashes in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in early 2017, Baraka called on Lebanese authorities to boost security and to prosecute gunmen who fire toward Palestinian camps. Baraka affirmed Hamas’s determination to maintain security in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon but emphasized the importance of the joint efforts to strengthen Palestinian-Lebanese relations.“Baraka demands prosecuting the armed groups near Burj al- Barajneh,” Hamas, March 12, 2017, https://hamas.ps/en/post/561/Baraka-demands-prosecuting-the-armed-groups-near-Burj-al-Barajneh; “UNICEF, UNRWA condemn violence in Ain Al-Hilweh refugee camp,” Middle East Monitor, March 1, 2017, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170301-unicef-unrwa-condemn-violence-in-ain-al-hilweh-refugee-camp/.
Baraka also met with high-level Lebanese government officials. In April 2017, Barak met with Lebanese Human Rights Minister Ayman Shqeir to congratulate him on his new position. While discussing Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Baraka asked Shqeir to intervene to improve the circumstances of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanese camps.“Hamas representative meets with the Lebanese human rights minister,” Hamas, April 8, 2017, https://hamas.ps/en/post/618/Hamas-representative-meets-with-the-Lebanese-human-rights-minister. That May, Baraka delivered a letter of gratitude to Lebanese Education Minister Marwan Hamada in appreciation of a decision to reinstate the Palestinian cause in the Lebanese curriculum.“Hamas hails the Lebanese education minister decision,” Hamas, May 31, 2017, https://hamas.ps/en/post/758/Hamas-hails-the-Lebanese-education-minister-decision. On June 27 that year, Baraka visited Lebanese parliamentarian Abdel Rahim Murad, the head of the Union Party in Lebanon, in his office in Beirut. Baraka told Murad Hamas seeks to strengthen its relations with all Arab and Islamic countries and refused to divide them into rivals. He also called for resolving internal Arab disputes.“Barakah discusses with Lebanese Minister, Murad, the developments of the Palestinian cause,” Hamas, June 28, 2017, https://hamas.ps/en/post/825/Barakah-discusses-with-Lebanese-Minister-Murad-the-developments-of-the-Palestinian-cause. Baraka also delivered letters from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Lebanese Grand Mufti Abudul Latif Drian, and other leaders.“Hamas sent letter on Jerusalem to Lebanon's president,” Hamas, July 28, 2017, https://hamas.ps/en/post/898/Hamas-sent-letter-on-Jerusalem-to-Lebanon-s-president; “Barakah delivers letter from Haniyeh to Lebanese Mufti,” Hamas, August 4, 2017, https://hamas.ps/en/post/910/Barakah-delivers-letter-from-Haniyeh-to-Lebanese-Mufti.
Iran-backed Hezbollah exerts extensive control over Lebanon. Relations between Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as Hezbollah’s primary patron Iran, fractured after the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011. In February 2012, Hamas’s leadership abandoned its headquarters in Syria and voiced support for rebels opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.“Hamas Political Chiefs Exit Syria,” BBC News, February 28, 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17192278. In May 2013, reports circulated that Hezbollah had ordered Baraka to leave Lebanon because of Hamas’s support for the rebels. Baraka denied the reports and claimed Hamas intended to remain in Lebanon.Stuart Winer, “Hamas denies Hezbollah booting it out of Lebanon,” Times of Israel, May 30, 2013, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-denies-it-was-told-to-get-out-of-lebanon/. When a new conflict between Israel and Hamas began in June 2014, however, Baraka sought to mediate a reconciliation between Hezbollah and Hamas. On August 4, 2014, Baraka and Mahmoud Qamati, vice president of Hezbollah’s political office, met in the Beirut in a demonstration of support for the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah’s Al-Manar channel also hosted Baraka to give Hamas’s perspective on the war. Nasser Chararah, “Gaza war brings Hamas, Hezbollah closer,” Al-Monitor, August 8, 2014, https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2014/08/hamas-hezbollah-relations-meshaal-normalization.html. By the time a ceasefire went into effect on August 5, Hamas had launched 2,200 rockets into Israel.Yasmine Saleh and Lin Noueihed, “Israel, Hamas Militants Begin 72-Hour Truce,” Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2014, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-israel-hamas-gaza-truce-20140804-story.html. In May 2021, Hezbollah and Lebanese media reported Baraka praising “excellent” relations between Hamas and Hezbollah.Lebanese News and Updates, Twitter post, May 16, 2021, 5:52 a.m., https://twitter.com/LebUpdate/status/1393866916721315840; “Hamas Official Says Coordination with Hezbollah ‘Excellent,’” Al Manar TV, May 16, 2021, https://english.almanar.com.lb/1342420.
Baraka stepped down from his role as Hamas’s Lebanese representative in January 2019 after serving two four-year terms. Ahmed Abd al-Hadi replaced Baraka in the position.“Abdulhadi succeeds Baraka as Hamas Representative in Lebanon,” Hamas, January 10, 2019, https://hamas.ps/en/post/1834/Abdulhadi-succeeds-Baraka-as-Hamas-Representative-in-Lebanon. Baraka remained in Lebanon and assumed the role of leading Hamas’s relations abroad. In September 2020, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh met with Palestinian factions in Lebanon to discuss a response to the United Arab Emirates’ August decision to normalize relations with Israel, as well as then-U.S. President Donald Trump’s recently announced Deal of the Century peace plan for Palestinians and Israelis. According to Baraka, Hamas sought “a unified Palestinian strategy to confront normalisation schemes” and “to reject” Trump’s plan.“Hamas leader in Lebanon to meet Palestinian factions,” Al Jazeera, September 2, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/9/2/hamas-leader-in-lebanon-to-meet-palestinian-factions. Baraka praised Lebanon as an ideal host for the talks because of its support for the Palestinian cause and large population of Palestinian refugees.“Hamas leader in Lebanon to meet Palestinian factions,” Al Jazeera, September 2, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/9/2/hamas-leader-in-lebanon-to-meet-palestinian-factions.
In January 2022, Baraka joined a Hamas delegation in Algeria’s capital to discuss efforts to achieve Palestinian unity. Baraka welcomed an Algerian initiative for Hamas and other Palestinian factions to hold a national dialogue. According to Baraka, Hamas is “keen” on achieving national unity.“‘National dialogue held in Algeria is a golden opportunity to heal division,’ Hamas official says,” Hamas, January 19, 2022, https://hamas.ps/en/post/3876/National-dialogue-held-in-Algeria-is-a-golden-opportunity-to-heal-division-Hamas-official-says. Algeria hosted the dialogue that October, resulting in 14 Palestinian factions signing the Declaration of Algiers on October 13.“Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General - on Algiers Declaration by Palestinian groups,” United Nations, October 15, 2022, https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2022-10-15/statement-attributable-the-spokesperson-for-the-secretary-general-algiers-declaration-palestinian-groups; “Palestinian groups Fatah, Hamas meet in Algeria to heal rift,” Al Jazeera, October 11, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/11/palestinian-groups-fatah-hamas-meet-in-algeria-to-heal-rift.
Despite his position in diplomacy, Baraka remains committed to Hamas’s use of violence as its primary weapon against Israel. During a November 23, 2018, interview with Iraq’s Al-Nujaba TV, Baraka declared Hamas’s missiles were capable of reaching Tel Aviv and farther into Israel.MEMRI, “Hamas official: ‘Our missiles can strike anywhere in Israel,’” Jewish News Syndicate, December 3, 2018, https://www.jns.org/hamas-official-our-missiles-can-strike-anywhere-in-israel-iranian-support-is-the-basis-of-our-steadfastness/. During a December 2022 speech commemorating Hamas’s 35th anniversary, Baraka Baraka called for Israel to immediately lift its blockade of Gaza and again warned Hamas’s missiles could strike any part of Israel. He cited a Hamas missile fired toward Eilat, Israel, in May 2021, which caused the Eilat Ramon Airport to briefly suspend operations.Jack Khoury and Almog Ben Zikri, “Hamas Rocket Aimed at Israel's Eilat Airport Misses, but Operations Temporarily Halted,” Haaretz (Tel Aviv), May 13, 2021, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2021-05-13/ty-article/.premium/hamas-rocket-aimed-at-israels-eilat-airport-misses-operations-temporarily-halted/0000017f-e5c4-dc7e-adff-f5edb37a0000; “Hamas official: Our missiles can strike any part of occupied territories,” Press TV, December 17, 2022, https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/17/694661/Palestine-Hamas-missiles-strike-occupied-territories-Ali-Baraka-resistance-Palestinian-cause.
- Extremist entity
- Type(s) of Organization:
- Political, religious, social service provider, terrorist, violent
- Ideologies and Affiliations:
- Islamist, jihadist, Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group, pan-Islamist, Qutbist, Sunni
- Head of Hamas National Relations Abroad; Representative in Lebanon (2011-2019)
Hamas is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization which has killed hundreds of Israeli citizens, as well as Americans, in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip since it violently expelled the Palestinian Authority in 2007.
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.