Sections of Hamas’s political leadership are debating proposals to stay out of future governments in the Palestinian Territories in a bid to avoid international isolation, according to AFP.Top officials in Hamas are weighing in behind proposals to stay out of future Palestinian government. The proposals are said to have the support of Hamas political leader Khaaled Mashal.

Hamas officials have claimed that ‘Hamas found that being in government caused huge damage to the movement, and therefore it has changed its policy”.

Hamas entered government with Fatah in 2007 after comfortably beating Fatah in national elections in 2006. However a split between the two parties led to clashes and Fatah’s routing from Gaza where Hamas has since lead a de-facto government.

Following 2007 the political and militant group’s opinion ratings have taken a hit and polls show that support for Fatah would lead it to a clear majority if elections were held today.

The group has suffered criticism from both more moderate and more extreme political factions for its role in Gaza. More hardcore elements in Palestinian politics have criticized the group for ending suicide bombings from the Gaza strip while moderates have criticized rocket attacks carried out by Hamas’s militant group, which they claim isolate Palestinians from the international community.

Current financial needs of the PA run to $3.2 billion per annum, a third of which is financed by international aid and another third by Palestinian tax funds controlled by Israel. Both sources of funding would most likely dry up given a Hamas led government in the Palestinian Territories.

Proposals being discussed would allow for Hamas to take seats in Parliament but not cabinet positions.

Hamas originated as the Palestinian section of the Muslim Brotherhood where it operated largely as a charitable and religious organisation. It broke from the Brotherhood in 1987 during the first intifada. It first entered Palestinian politics during the Palestinian 2005 municipal elections.