The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence

The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence

The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence

The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence

Synopsis

Since it emerged as a challenger to the PLO during the Palestinian Intifada, Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement) has been associated in the public mind with terror and violence. Now two Israeli experts show that, contrary to its image, Hamas is essentially a social and political movement, providing extensive community services and responding constantly to political realities through bargaining and power brokering. The authors lift the veil on Hamas's strategic decision-making methods at each of the crucial crossroads it has confronted: the Intifada and the struggle with the PLO, the Oslo accords and the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority, and the dilemmas surrounding the choice between absolute Jihad against Israel versus the option of controlled violence.

Excerpt

Hamas is a movement identified with Islamic fundamentalism and murderous suicide bombings. At the top of its agenda are liberating Palestine through a holy war against Israel, establishing an Islamic state on its soil, and reforming society in the spirit of true Islam. It is this Islamic vision, combined with its nationalist claims and militancy toward Israel, that accounts for the prevailing image of Hamas as an ideologically intransigent and politically rigid movement, ready to pursue its goals at any cost, with no limits or constraints. Islamic and national zeal, bitter opposition to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and strategies of terror and violence against Israel have become the movement's hallmark.

A close scrutiny of Hamas's roots and its record since its establishment at the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising (Intifada) in December 1987, however, reveals that contrary to this description, it is essentially a social movement. As such, Hamas has directed its energies and resources primarily toward providing services to the community, especially responding to its immediate hardships and concerns. As a religious movement involved in a wide range of social activities, Hamas is deeply rooted in the Palestinian society in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and thus is aware of the society's anxieties, sharing its concerns, expressing its aspirations, and tending to its needs and difficulties.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.