Sat. May 18th, 2024

The terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel and Israel’s retaliatory strikes have thrust the Hamas group into the spotlight. The Palestinian extremist organization garnered international attention after launching over 5,000 rockets at Israel and bypassing its robust aerial defense system, the Iron Dome. The conflict has resulted in the deaths of more than 500 people through Hamas’ attacks and Israel’s response.

Hamas’ history, ideology, and demands are worth examining. The group was established in 1987 by Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi as an extension of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyya, which translates to Islamic Resistance Movement. The term “Hamas” signifies zeal. In 1988, the Hamas Charter outlined its objective of liberating Palestine and establishing an Islamic State encompassing Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. The group has since stated that it would consider a ceasefire if Israel withdraws to its pre-1967 borders, provides reparations, and permits the return of Palestinian refugees. Furthermore, Hamas has expressed a willingness to sever ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. However, Israel has dismissed these claims, accusing Hamas of attempting to deceive the global community.

Hamas is comprised of a cultural arm called Dawah and a military wing known as the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The group receives support from Iran and is part of a larger bloc consisting of Iran, Syria, and the Islamist group Hezbollah in Lebanon. All members of this bloc oppose US policies in the region. Iran’s foreign ministry has commended Hamas’ recent attacks as proof of the “Palestinian people’s confidence in the face of the occupiers.” Hamas enjoys support from followers within the Palestinian territories and other countries in the Middle East. Iran, Syria, and Yemen have backed Hamas, describing its actions as “proud” and “heroic.” Qatar has held Israel solely responsible for the current situation. The Arab League and Jordan have also criticized Israel’s policies and its role in the ongoing conflict. On the other hand, Egypt, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia have called for restraint.

On a global scale, Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, the European Union, Canada, Egypt, and Japan. In 2018, a US resolution condemning Hamas’ activities was voted down in the UN General Assembly.

Hamas’ emergence within the Palestinian political scene created a direct confrontation with Fatah, a political party founded and led by Yasser Arafat. Initially established as a paramilitary organization, Fatah later abandoned armed resistance and supported the UN Security Council resolution to establish a Palestinian State based on the 1967 borders alongside an Israeli State. Arafat’s death in 2004 created a power vacuum, during which Hamas gained strength. In 2007, Hamas took control of Gaza following a civil war with Fatah. Since then, Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip, while Fatah maintains power in the West Bank. Hamas identifies as Islamist, while Fatah advocates for secularism. The two factions also differ in their approach to Israel, with Hamas refusing to recognize its existence and advocating for armed resistance, while Fatah has pursued negotiations as a means to find a resolution. The ongoing conflict has perpetuated a turf war between the two forces for decades, leading to collapsed agreements and, most recently, Hamas boycotting the 2021-2022 Palestinian local elections. Fatah is currently led by Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine.

In response to the recent attacks, the State of Palestine did not explicitly name Hamas but highlighted the repercussions of obstructing the political process and denying the Palestinian people their legitimate right to self-determination and the establishment of their own state.

By admin