I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Background on Hamas

A website called Israel and the Middle East has a pretty good briefing on the Hamas Terrorist Organization, part of which I have swiped and pasted below (please visit the website for the complete dossier):

Hamas (Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamat al-Islāmiyyah, meaning “Islamic Resistance Movement”) is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist paramilitary organization and political party which holds a majority of seats in the elected legislative council of the Palestinian National Authority.

Hamas was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi and Mohammad Taha of the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the First Intifada. Notorious for its numerous suicide bombings and other attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces, Hamas also runs extensive social programs and has gained popularity in Palestinian society by establishing hospitals, education systems, libraries and other services[4] throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Hamas describes its conflict with Israel as political and not religious or antisemitic. However, its founding charter, writings, and many of its public statements reflect the influence of antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Hamas’s political wing has won many local elections in Gaza, Qalqilya, and Nablus. In January 2006, Hamas won a surprise victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, taking 76 of the 132 seats in the chamber, while the previous ruling Fatah party took 43. Many perceived the preceding Fatah government as corrupt and ineffective, and Hamas’s supporters see it as an “armed resistance” movement defending Palestinians from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. \owever, since Hamas’s election victory, particularly sharp infighting has occurred between Hamas and Fatah.

Following the Battle of Gaza in June of 2007, elected Hamas officials were ousted from their positions in the Palestinian National Authority government in the West Bank, replaced by rival Fatah members and independents in an action that many Palestinians and other experts considered illegal. On 18 June 2007, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah) issued a decree outlawing the Hamas militia and executive force.

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by Canada, the European Union,Israel, Japan, and the United States,and is banned in Jordan. Australia and the United Kingdom list only the military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization. The United States and the European Union have both implemented restrictive measures against Hamas on an international level.