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Hamas

HAMAS

Palestinian Islamic resistance movement.

HAMAS was created in Israeli-occupied Gaza in December 1987 as the resistance wing of the Islamic revivalist organization, the Association of the Muslim Brotherhood. HAMAS (zeal, in Arabic) is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya (Islamic resistance movement).

Prior to the outbreak of the anti-Israeli uprising in the West Bank and Gaza known as the Intifada in December 1987, the Brotherhood's agenda focused on proselytizing and social purification as the basis for Palestinian socio-spiritual renewal. Hostile to secular nationalist groups within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Brotherhood shunned overt acts of anti-Israeli resistance. Israeli authorities quietly assisted the Brotherhood in hopes that it might provide a quieter political alternative to the PLO. The leading figure in the Brotherhood was Shaykh Ahmad Yasin.

Massive popular participation in the intifada prompted the Brotherhood to change tactics and establish HAMAS; its August 1988 charter clearly noted the group's connection with the Brotherhood. Brotherhood leaders argued that the time for vigorous jihad (holy war) had arrived. The move was political as well as religioussecular groups and another militant religious group, Islamic Jihad, were already resisting the Israeli occupation.

The charter called for the total liberation of Palestine from Israeli rule, declaring that Palestine is Islamic waqf (religious trust) land that must never be surrendered to non-Muslim rule. HAMAS supported the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state in all of Palestine, in contrast to the PLO's vision of a secular state in the occupied territories. Israeli authorities struck hard at the HAMAS leadership during the intifada. Shaykh Yasin was arrested in May 1989 and sentenced two years later to life imprisonment. Other important HAMAS figures, such as Shaykh Ibrahim Qawqa, were deported. In December 1992 Israel deported 418 members from HAMAS and Islamic Jihad to Lebanon, including HAMAS leader Abd al-Aziz Rantisi.

HAMAS has maintained a difficult relationship with the PLO. It refused to join the PLO-led Unified National Command of the Uprising (UNCU) that emerged to coordinate resistance activity during the intifada. According to an October 1988 agreement between HAMAS and the UNCU, HAMAS operated alongside of but separate from the UNCU. By 1991 HAMAS was pushing for elections to the Palestine National Council, the PLO's parliament-in-exile, which would be held both in exile and in the territories, where its own strength lay. HAMAS also resolutely opposed the Arab-Israeli peace talks that began in late 1991, and HAMAS activists from its armed wing, the Martyr Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, increased the number of attacks against Israeli targets. HAMAS joined nine other Palestinian groups opposed to the talks in the National Democratic and Islamic Front and denounced the resulting Oslo Accord (September 1993).

HAMAS accelerated its resistance to the accords after establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994. In 1995, as serious intra-Palestinian disputes continued, the al-Qassam Brigades carried out a number of deadly suicide bombings against Jewish civilians in Israel proper, not against troops in the West Bank and Gaza; this prompted the PA to crack down on HAMAS. The following year, HAMAS bus bombings directly led to the election of hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli prime minister and the virtual collapse of the peace process. King Hussein ibn Talal demanded Shaykh Yasin's release in October 1997 in return for the release of two Israeli intelligence operatives who had been captured after their failed attempt to assassinate HAMAS leader Khalid Mashʿal in Amman. HAMAS maintains offices in several countries, including Syria, the current home of exiled senior leader Musa Abu Marzuq.

The al-Aqsa Intifada, which started in 2000, saw the al-Qassam Brigades increase their suicide attacks against Israeli civilian targets. In addition, HAMAS and Islamic Jihad put aside their rivalry and began working in tandem. Israel, in return, assassinated more than 100 militants from the al-Qassam Brigades, Islamic Jihad, and al-Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Among them was senior HAMAS spokesman Ismaʿil Abu Shanab. Israel tried but failed to assassinate several other senior figures, such as Abd al-Aziz Rantisi (who returned to Gaza in 1993), in June 2003, and Shaykh Yasin, in September 2003. Israel repeated its assassination attempt on Shaykh Yasin on 22 March 2004, this time killing him.

Polls consistently show that Palestinians approve of HAMAS's suicide bombings, although that public support began to wane because of their deleterious effect on global support for the Palestinian cause. By late 2003 the future of the peace process seemed to depend upon the PA's ability to halt attacks by HAMAS.

See also aqsa intifada, al-; fatah, al-; gaza (city); hussein ibn talal; intifada (19871991); islamic jihad; jihad; muslim brotherhood; netanyahu, benjamin; oslo accord (1993); palestine liberation organization (plo); palestine national council; palestinian authority; west bank; yasin, ahmad ismaʿil.


Bibliography

Hroub, Khaled. Hamas: Political Thought and Practice. Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2000.

Mishal, Shaul, and Sela, Avraham. The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.


michael r. fischbach

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"Hamas." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Hamas." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hamas

HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)

HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)

HAMAS was formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Various HAMAS elements have used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel. HAMAS is loosely structured, with some elements working clandestinely and others working openly through mosques and social service institutions (including charities organized by HAMAS) to recruit members, raise money, organize activities, and distribute propaganda. HAMAS' strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and a few areas of the West Bank. HAMAS also has engaged in political activity, such as running candidates in West Bank Chamber of Commerce elections.

Organization activities. HAMAS is a large organization with tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers. HAMAS activists, especially those in the Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacksincluding large-scale suicide bombingsagainst Israeli civilian and military targets. In the early 1990s, HAMAS also targeted Fatah rivals and began a continuing practice of targeting suspected Palestinian collaborators. HAMAS increased operational activity in 2001 during the Intifadah, claiming numerous attacks against Israeli interests. HAMAS has not directly targeted U.S. interests and continues to confine its attacks to Israelis inside Israel and the territories.

HAMAS operates primarily in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel. In August 1999, Jordanian authorities closed the group's Political Bureau offices in Amman, arrested its leaders, and prohibited the group from operating on Jordanian territory. HAMAS leaders are also present in other parts of the Middle East, including Syria, Lebanon, and Iran.

HAMAS receives funding from Palestinian expatriates, Iran, and private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states. Some fundraising and propaganda activity take place in Western Europe and North America.

FURTHER READING:

ELECTRONIC:

Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook, 2002. <http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/> (April 16, 2003).

Taylor, Francis X. U.S. Department of State. Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001, Annual Report: On the Record Briefing. May 21, 2002 <http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rm/10367.htm> (April 17, 2003).

U.S. Department of State. Annual Reports. <http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/annual_reports.html> (April 16, 2003).

SEE ALSO

Terrorism, Philosophical and Ideological Origins
Terrorist and Para-State Organizations
Terrorist Organization List, United States
Terrorist Organizations, Freezing of Assets

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Hamas

Hamas (hämäs´) [Arab., = zeal], Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization that was founded in 1987 during the Intifada; it seeks to establish an Islamic state in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip (the former mandate of Palestine). An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas operates mosques, schools, clinics, and social programs but is best known in the West for its military wing, which has carried out numerous terrorist attacks on Israelis. Hamas opposed the 1993 accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which granted Palestinians gradual limited autonomy in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and called for complete Israeli withdrawal from both areas.

After 1993 Hamas's military wing carried out suicide bombings in Israel in an attempt to derail both that agreement and further negotiations. Hamas supporters were prominent among those who challenged the Palestinian Authority (which was dominated by Al Fatah, the main faction of the PLO), and its leaders have been subjected to mass arrests. The organization opposed the 1996 elections held in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for the Palestinian Authority legislative council but did not call for a boycott; some Hamas sympathizers ran as independents. In 2004, Israel killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hamas's spiritual leader, in retaliation for continued Hamas attacks, and subsequently Hamas military leaders based in Damascus, Syria, became more influential than the political leaders in Gaza.

In 2005 Hamas ran strongly in local elections in Gaza and the West Bank, besting Al Fatah in many areas, and in the Palestinian Authority (PA) legislative elections in Jan., 2006, it won a majority of the seats and then formed a government. Accelerating tensions between Hamas and Al Fatah threatened to dissolve the PA in chaos in the spring of 2006, but when Hamas forces captured (June) an Israeli soldier and held in him in the Gaza Strip it provoked a major Israeli incursion into N and central Gaza and renewed fighting. A political stalemate with PA President Mahmoud Abbas over recognizing Israel and other issues led to tensions with the PLO that erupted at times into fighting in 2006.

In 2007 Hamas and Al Fatah agreed to form a national unity government, but continuing clashes led to Hamas's seizure of control in the Gaza Strip (June, 2007), which then led Abbas to install a new government without Hamas. Israel subjected the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to a blockade. A new cycle of Hamas-Israeli fighting that began in Nov., 2008, led to another Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip in Jan., 2009. Human rights groups accused both Hamas and Israel of committing war crimes during the fighting. Attempts since 2007 to reestablish a PA government including both Hamas and Al Fatah proved unsuccessful until 2014 when an agreement led to the appointment of a technocratic unity government. Tensions between the two groups, however, continued. July, 2014, saw Israeli air strikes against Hamas and the Gaza Strip after three Israeli teenagers were murdered in the West Bank. Israel blamed Hamas for the killings; Hamas denied responsibility. Hamas rocket attacks against targets in Israel began a cycle of retaliatory attacks and led to an Israeli ground invasion; a cease-fire was agreed to in August.

See studies by Z. Chehab (2007), J. Gunning (2008), and P. McGeough (2009).

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Hamas (Movement for a Peaceful Society)

HAMAS (MOVEMENT FOR A PEACEFUL SOCIETY)

A moderate Islamic party in Algeria.

Hamas is Algeria's second most popular Islamic party, after the Islamic Salvation Front. It was established in 1990 by Shaykh Mahfoud Nahnah (19422003), after constitutional amendments allowed for political pluralism, as the Movement of the Islamic Society, with the Arabic acronym HAMAS. To conform to a law requiring that the name make no reference to Islam, in 1991 the party changed its name to the Movement for a Peaceful Society. Influenced by the teachings and methods of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the party's origins go back to the 1970s, when Shaykh Nahnah was arrested for opposing the state's socialist orientation. In 1989, he formed a social and cultural society, Jamʿiyyat alIrshad wa al-Islah (Association of Guidance and Reform), which became Hamas in 1990 and drew its following from among students, teachers, and professionals. In the 1991 legislative elections, the party garnered over 450,000 votes. Since the cancellation of these elections, Hamas has maintained a moderate and nonviolent stance and advocated national reconciliation and the preservation of the republic and the institutions of the state. It has been criticized by some for taking a conciliatory position toward the military-backed regime. Others see its program as realistic and pragmatic. Shaykh Nahnah ran as a candidate during the presidential elections of 1995 and came in second, winning over three million votes. In the 1999 presidential elections, the party supported the candidacy of Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Since the 1997 legislative elections, Hamas has participated in several ministerial cabinets and placed representatives in the Algerian parliament. It has advocated a moderate Islamic position; adherence to the country's fundamental cultural components (Islamic, Arab, and Amazegh [the indigenous population]); the restoration of order and national peace; pluralism; the peaceful transfer of power; women's participation in society; and respect for human rights. In 2003 Shaykh Nahnah died of leukemia, leaving behind a movement that is expected to survive its founder.

See also algeria: political parties in; front islamique du salut (fis); nahnah, mahfoud.


Bibliography

Harakat Mujtama al-Silm. Available from <www.hmsalgeria.net>.

Shahin, Emad Eldin. Political Ascent: Contemporary Islamic Movements in North Africa. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998.

emad eldin shahin

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Hamas

Hamas a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist movement that has become a focus for Arab resistance in the Israeli-occupied territories. It opposes peace with Israel and has come into conflict with the more moderate Palestine Liberation Organization.

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Hamas

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