What is Hamas?

Hamas is a terrorist organization created by the Muslim Brotherhood (who is also the arm of Al-Qaeda).

Officially Hamas plays on Leftist ideals in efforts to gain public support to recruit terrorists and gain international sympathies for their ‘victimization’.

Internally the Hamas has consistently stated intentions of fighting for a singular Islamic state, whether it is in Israel with a complete extermination of Jews, or beyond Israel in other non-Muslim nations.

Hamas provide social care to Hamas supporters on the condition that they pledge alliance to Hamas. Children who attend Hamas funded education can only do so if parents sign oaths of allegiance.

Indoctrination of antisemitism and extremism with glorification of suicide martyrdoom is commonly taught to children by Hamas.

Hamas (Arabic: حماس‎ Ḥamās, “enthusiasm”, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah, “Islamic Resistance Movement”) is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Since June 2007 Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories, after it won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections and then defeated the Fatah political organization in a series of violent clashes.

Israel, the United States, the European Union, and Japan classify Hamas as a terrorist organization, while Arab nations, Russia, and Turkey do not.

Based on the principles of Islamic fundamentalism gaining momentum throughout the Arab world in the 1980s, Hamas was founded in 1987 (during the First Intifada) as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987, and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. However, in July 2009, Khaled Meshal, Hamas’s Damascus-based political bureau chief, said the organization was willing to cooperate with “a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict which included a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders”, provided that Palestinian refugees hold the right to return to Israel and that East Jerusalem be the new nation’s capital.

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas affiliated military wing, has launched attacks on Israel, against both military and civilian targets. Tactics have included rocket attacks and, from 1993 to 2008, suicide bombings. Military targets included Israeli and Egyptian  outposts and border crossings and rival Palestinian militias in the occupied territories.

In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections Hamas won a decisive majority in the Palestinian Parliament, defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the United States and the EU halted financial assistance to the Hamas-led administration. In March 2007 a national unity government, headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance. Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted into the 2007 Battle of Gaza, after which Hamas retained control of Gaza while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank. Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade on Gaza, on the grounds that Fatah forces were no longer providing security there.

In June 2008, as part of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, Hamas ceased rocket attacks on Israel and made some efforts to prevent attacks by other organizations. After a four-month calm, the conflict escalated when Israel carried out a military action with the stated aim of preventing an abduction planned by Hamas, using a tunnel that had been dug under the border security fence, and killed seven Hamas operatives. In retaliation, Hamas attacked Israel with a barrage of rockets. In late December 2008, Israel attacked Gaza, withdrawing its forces from the territory in mid-January 2009. After the Gaza War, Hamas continued to govern the Gaza Strip and Israel maintained its economic blockade. On May 4, 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for “creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government” prior to national elections scheduled for 2012. As part of that agreement, Hamas’ resistance would be peaceful and not military, according to Israeli news reports.

Human Rights Abuses

In June 2011, the Independent Commission for Human Rights based in Ramallah published a report whose findings included that the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were subjected in 2010 to an “almost systematic campaign” of human rights abuses by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as by Israeli authorities, with the security forces belonging to the PA and Hamas being responsible for torture, arrests and arbitrary detentions.

In 2012 the Human Rights Watch presented a 43 page long list of human rights violation committed by Hamas. Among actions attributed to Hamas the HRW report mentions beatings with metal clubs and rubber hoses, hanging of alleged collaborationists with Israel, and torture of 102 individuals. According to the report, Hamas also tortured civil society activists and peaceful protesters. Reflecting on the captivity of Gilad Shalit, the HRW report described it as “cruel and inhuman”. The report also slams Hamas for harassment of people based on so called morality offenses and for media censorship. In a public statement Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director of HRW claimed that “after five years of Hamas rule in Gaza, its criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees’ rights and grants impunity to abusive security services”. Hamas responded by denying charges and describing them as “politically motivated”

Social Welfare As A Recruitment Tool

Hamas is particularly popular among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, though it also has a following in the West Bank, and to a lesser extent in other Middle Eastern countries. Its popularity stems in part from its welfare wing providing social services to Palestinians in the occupied territories. Such services are not generally provided by the Palestinian Authority.

In particular, Hamas funded health services where people could receive free or inexpensive medical treatment. Hamas greatly contributed to the health sector, and facilitated hospital and physician services in the Palestinian territory. On the other hand, Hamas’s use of hospitals is sometimes criticised as purportedly serving the promotion of violence against Israel. Charities affiliated with Hamas are known to financially support families of those who have been killed or imprisoned while carrying out militant actions or supporting such actions. Families of militants not affiliated with Hamas sometimes receive less.

Hamas has funded education and built Islamic charities, libraries, mosques and education centers for women. They also built nurseries, kindergartens and supervised religious schools that provide free meals to children. When children attend their schools and mosques, parents are required to sign oaths of allegiance.

International Designation of Hamas

Country Designation
 Australia The military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, is listed as a terrorist organization.
 Canada Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, Hamas is described as a terrorist organization.
 European Union Hamas has been included in the black list of EU-designated terrorists groups since 2003.
 Israel The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that “Hamas maintains a terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank, and acts to carry out terrorist attacks in the territories and Israel.”
 Japan Stated in 2005 that it had frozen the assets of “terrorist organizations, including… Hamas.”
 Jordan Banned Hamas in 1999 Now seeking to resettle Hamas leadership in Jordan.
 Norway Norway was the first Western country to recognize the 2007 Palestinian government consisting of both Hamas and Fatah, and Norwegian officials have met with Hamas representatives on several occasions. “We know that the USA and the EU have legal obligations since they have Hamas on their terrorist list. We must be able to take an independent decision about contact,” Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre responded to a 2006 United States’ attempt to dissuade Norwegian contact with Hamas.
 Russia Russia does not designate Hamas a terrorist organisation, and held direct talks with Hamas in 2006, after Hamas won the Palestine elections, stating that it did so to press Hamas to reject violence and recognise Israel. An Israeli official has said that Russia will reduce its ties to Hamas.
 Turkey The Turkish government met with Hamas leaders in February 2006, after the organization’s victory in the Palestinian elections. In 2010, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described Hamas as “resistance fighters who are struggling to defend their land.”
 United Kingdom The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades have been listed as a terrorist organization under the Terrorism Act since 2001. As a consequence of listing by the EU on 12 September 2003, the UK Government listed Hamas as a whole as a terrorist organization on 22 September 2003.
 United States Lists Hamas as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization”

Advertisements