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1280px-Flag of Hamas.svg.png
Full Name: Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah
Alias: Hamas
Origin: Palestine
Foundation: 1987
Headquarters: Gaza City, Gaza
Commanders: Ismail Haniyeh
Khaled Mashal
Yahya Sinwar
Agents: Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook
Mohammed Deif
Ahmed Jabari
Imad Abbas
Salah Shehade
Adnan al-Ghoul
Abdullah Barghouti
Goals: Become the sole governing power of Palestine (partially succeeded)
Have Israel effectively eliminated (continuously conspiring)
Slander Jews (ongoing)
Crimes: War crimes
Human rights violations
Crimes against humanity
Extrajudicial murder
Holocaust denial
Blood libel

Our plan for this stage is to liberate any inch of Palestinian land, and to establish a state on it. Our ultimate plan is to have Palestine in its entirety.
~ Mahmoud Al-Zahhar states the goal of Hamas, June 15, 2010

Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni militant Islamist[5] organization, with an associated military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, [6] located in the Palestinian territories. They have been the principal governing power of the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Hamas' stated goal is the abolishment of the State of Israel as well as the establishment of an Islamic state in the Palestinian territories. They are considered to be a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, and the European Union.


Hamas was founded in 1987 shortly after the outbreak of the First Intifada as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Co-founder 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.[18][19] However, in July 2009, Khaled Meshal, Hamas's political bureau chief, said the organization was willing to cooperate with "a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict which included a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders", provided that Palestinian refugees hold the right to return to Israel and that East Jerusalem be the new nation's capital.[20][21]

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[7] and then defeated the Fatah political organization in a series of violent clashes. Israel, the United States,[8] Canada,[9] the European Union,[10][11] and Japan classify Hamas as a terrorist organization,[12][13] while Iran, Russia,[14] Turkey,[15] and Arab nations do not.

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas affiliated military wing, has launched attacks on Israel, against both military and civilian targets. Attacks on civilian targets have included rocket attacks and, from 1993 to 2006, suicide bombings.[22] Military targets included Israeli outposts and border crossings and rival Palestinian militias in the occupied territories.[23][24]

In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections Hamas won a decisive majority in the Palestinian Parliament,[7] defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the United States and the EU halted financial assistance to the Hamas-led administration.[25] In March 2007 a national unity government, headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance.[26] Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted into the 2007 Battle of Gaza,[26] after which Hamas retained control of Gaza while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank.[26] Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade on Gaza, on the grounds that Fatah forces were no longer providing security there.[27]

In June 2008, as part of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, Hamas ceased rocket attacks on Israel and made some efforts to prevent attacks by other organizations.[28][29][broken citation] After a four-month calm, the conflict escalated when Israel carried out a military action with the stated aim of preventing an abduction planned by Hamas, using a tunnel that had been dug under the border security fence,[broken citation] and killed seven Hamas operatives. In retaliation, Hamas attacked Israel with a barrage of rockets.[29][broken citation] [30] In late December 2008, Israel attacked Gaza,[31] withdrawing its forces from the territory in mid-January 2009.[32] After the Gaza War, Hamas continued to govern the Gaza Strip and Israel maintained its economic blockade. On May 4, 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for "creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government" prior to national elections scheduled for 2012.[33] According to Israeli news reports quoting Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, as a condition of joining the PLO, Khaled Meshaal agreed to discontinue the "armed struggle" against Israel and accept Palestinian statehood within the 1967 borders, alongside Israel. The two groups reconciled in 2014, and both joined together to form the Palestinian Unity Government, but this alliance later fell apart after both attempted to seize control by replacing the cabinet with their own supporters.

Hamas inherited from its predecessor a tripartite structure that consisted in the provision of social services, of religious training and military operations under a Shura Council. Traditionally it had four distinct functions: (a) a charitable social welfare division (dawah); (b) a military division for procuring weapons and undertaking operations (al-Mujahideen al Filastinun); (c) a security service (Jehaz Aman); and (d) a media branch (A'alam). Hamas has both an internal leadership within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and an external leadership, split between a Gaza group directed by Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook from his exile first in Damascus and then in Egypt, and a Kuwaiti group (Kuwaidia) under Khaled Mashal. The Kuwaiti group of Palestinian exiles began to receive extensive funding from the Gulf States after its leader Mashal broke with Yasser Arafat's decision to side with Saddam Hussein in the Invasion of Kuwait, with Mashal insisting that Iraq withdraw. On May 6, 2017, Hamas' Shura Council chose Ismail Haniyeh to become the new leader, to replace Mashal.

The exact nature of the organization is unclear, secrecy being maintained for fear of Israeli assassinations and to conceal operational activities. Formally, Hamas maintains the wings are separate and independent. Communication between the political and military wings of Hamas is difficult, owing to the thoroughness of Israeli intelligence surveillance and the existence of an extensive base of informants. After the assassination of Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi the occasional political direction of the militant wing diminished, with field commanders given discretional autonomy on operations.

Hamas have known to occasionally collaborate with both Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They also have the support of both Turkey (particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) and Qatar, who have provided financial aid to the group in the past. They also reportedly have operational and financial ties with Al-Qaeda.

The organization is also infamous for its rampant Holocaust denial, as they aggressively deny it on their platform and oftentimes speak with prominent Holocaust deniers.