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.

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

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Hamas: Selected full-text books and articles

Kill Khalid: Mossad's Failed Hit-- and the Rise of Hamas
Paul McGeough.
Allen & Unwin, 2009
Muslim Palestine: The Ideology of Hamas
Andrea Nüsse.
RoutledgeCurzon, 2002
The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence
Shaul Mishal; Avraham Sela.
Columbia University Press, 2000
The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
Mark Gasiorowski.
Westview Press, 2014 (7th edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "The Palestinians"
A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism
Daniel Byman.
Oxford University Press, 2011
Librarian’s tip: Section II "From Oslo through the Second Intifada"
Fanaticism and Conflict in the Modern Age
Matthew Hughes; Gaynor Johnson.
Frank Cass, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Religious and Nationalist Fanaticism: The Case of Hamas"
Sacred Terror: How Faith Becomes Lethal
Daniel E. Price.
Praeger, 2012
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Islam: Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda"
Redefining Security in the Middle East
Tami Amanda Jacoby; Brent E. Sasley.
Manchester University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Political Islam and the Middle East Peace Process: A Veiled Threat"
Structural Flaws in the Middle East Peace Process: Historical Contexts
J. W. Wright.
Palgrave, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority: Islamic Movements and 'Development in the Gaza Strip'"
Hamas, Understanding the Organization
Aboul-Enein, Youssef H.
Military Review, Vol. 83, No. 4, July/August 2003
Religious Nationalism and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: Examining Hamas and the Possibility of Reform*
Roy, Sara.
Chicago Journal of International Law, Vol. 5, No. 1, Summer 2004
Hamas in Power
Klein, Menachem.
The Middle East Journal, Vol. 61, No. 3, Summer 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Charting the Hamas Charter Changes
Nimer, Mohamed.
Insight Turkey, Vol. 11, No. 4, October 2009
Declaration of War - between a Ceremony and a Strategy: The Case of Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip
Kwartin, Ilana; Michael, Kobi.
Journal of Politics and Law, Vol. 6, No. 3, September 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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