What is Hamas?

  • Hamas, an acronym of Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah (Islamic Resistance Movement) is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamis organization, with an associated
  • military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, located in the Palestinian territories.
  • Since June 2007 Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip, 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, Canada, the European Union, Jordan,]Hamas as a terrorist organization, while Iran, Russia, Turkey, China and many nations across the Arab world do not.
  • Israel has branded it as a terrorist organisation that is pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state and has always rejected peace talks.
  • 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.
  • Hamas comprises three interrelated wings – the social welfare and political wings, which are responsible for the social, administrative, political, and propaganda activities of Hamas, and the military wing, which is engaged in covert activities, such as acting against suspected collaborators, gathering intelligence on potential targets, procuring weapons, and carrying out military attacks.
  • Hamas operates schools, hospitals and religious institutions, soup kitchens and orphanages in Gaza and the West Bank, and runs an effective social welfare program in the territories, cementing the group's popularity among Palestinians.