What is Hamas?


Hamas, an Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, is a Sunni-Islamist fundamentalist terrorist organization that emerged in 1987 during the first intifada — mass anti-Jewish riots committed by Palestinians. This terror group was a rebranding of the Muslim Brotherhood Palestinian branch — the original fundamentalist Islamic terrorist group influenced by Nazi ideology.


Primarily acting as a competitor of the PLO, and subsequently, the PA, Hamas has successfully vied for influence and power over the Palestinian people. This led to their 2006 election win for control over Gaza. Since then, the quality of life for Gazans under Hamas rule has floundered under corruption, ineptitude, greed, an extreme focus on engaging in terrorism against Israeli citizens, and the continued use of Palestinian citizens as human shields.  While some still reside in Gaza, many of their leaders and families have relocated to mansions in Qatar, Turkey, Syria, and Europe.  


What Does Hamas Stand For? 


Hamas’ charter includes a vow to commit global genocide of the Jews as a path toward worldwide Islamic domination, and to create a national home for Palestinians through the destruction of Israel. Their charter references the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a long-debunked antisemitic screed that promotes the belief that the Jews nefariously control the world from the shadows. Hamas members believe in the Sunni-Islamic hadith (report of Muhammad’s words) that through nature, Allah will grant them the power and moral validation to murder Jews:

“Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees will say, oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me — come and kill him.”


What Does Hamas Do?


Hamas has a long history of targeting soldiers and civilians alike regardless of their nationalities, including Israelis, Palestinians, and foreign civilians. Their methods of murder include suicide bombings, mass shootings, beheadings, and rockets, and they have planned on using chemical weapons — all while utilizing Palestinian civilians as protection from Israeli reprisals.

Between 2000 and 2006, Hamas carried out over 500 attacks, killing 390 people and injuring 2,100 (mostly civilians.) Since gaining control of Gaza in 2007, it has fired thousands of rockets into Israel, instigated 5 wars, and murdered thousands of Israeli and Palestinian civilians. 


It has established military headquarters underneath or inside hospitals, fired rockets near daycares, stored munitions in schools, and created explosive-making factories embedded in residential neighborhoods. Hamas encourages civilians to stay in buildings used to fire rockets, and blocks any attempts to escape Israeli rocket fire targeting their operatives. Their members continue to build tunnels used to smuggle weapons, attack Israelis, and hide from the IDF underneath streets and buildings — causing many to collapse. 

During the October 7th attack, Hamas members committed rape of living and dead victims, beheaded infants and threw them in ovens, dismembered and kidnapped children, adults, and the elderly, burnt entire families alive in their homes, murdered parents in front of their children then murdered the children, among other atrocities. Israeli authorities have struggled to identify the remains of many of their victims due to the brutality of the attack. 


How Did Hamas Come to Power in Gaza? 

Since its inception, Hamas vied for power and influence over the main Palestinian terror group, the PLO, which had monopolized Palestinian terrorism from the mid-1960s to the late 1980s. The competition between the PLO and Hamas escalated in response to the Oslo Peace Accords of the mid-1990s, when the PLO used diplomatic means to further its war against Israel’s existence rather than continuing to inflict violent terrorism outright. Hamas rejected all attempts to end Palestinian resistance that included allowing Jews to live without first converting to Islam and relinquishing their right to national self-determination. 


A combination of Hamas’ murderous tactics targeting Jewish civilians during the second intifada in the early 2000s, and the PLO’s (under the banner of the PA after the Oslo Accords) history of blatant corruption and governmental ineptitude, won the support of the majority of Palestinians. Four months after Israel attempted to restart the peace process by giving control of Gaza to the PA and forcefully evicting all 8,000 Jewish residents and soldiers, Hamas won the open Palestinian Legislative elections which gave it a mandate of control. 


After winning the ensuing civil war against the PA and cementing its rule in Gaza in 2007 by throwing political leaders off rooftops, committing assassinations, and inflicting wanton destruction with gunfire and explosives, Hamas began firing thousands of rockets at Israeli population centers. Since then, the terror organization has turned the Palestinian cities it governs into strongholds as it continues its attempts to murder Jews and destroy Israel, including the massacre on October 7th, 2023. 


Who Supports Hamas Financially? 

Hamas has been able to maintain its perennial genocidal war through major financial, diplomatic, and tactical support from Iran and Qatar. It also enjoys unfettered access to billions of dollars of humanitarian aid from the EU, US, and other UN countries, as well as direct and indirect support from the UN through the UNRWA program. It has been reported that Hamas has raised millions of dollars through its secret investment portfolio and cryptocurrency fundraising. Hamas hoards fuel, water, food, construction materials, and funds donated to build Gazan society to sustain its terrorist goals. 


What is Life Like in Gaza?

Hamas employs strict adherence to Sharia law in Gaza. Under its rule, the public space for women has steadily shrunk. Hamas violently enforces head-covering mandates for women in public and bans women from participating in arts and cultural events. They suppress all public dissent, business owners are routinely discriminated against, corruption and nepotism are rampant, there is heavy taxation, and authorities often use torture and murder to police the population. 


Hamas’ Support Among Palestinians

Though Hamas has commanded the respect of nearly all Palestinians since the end of 1989, there are conflicting reports of Hamas’ popularity among present-day Gazans. According to an average of polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), approximately 70% of Gazans support terrorist attacks against Israelis, and approximately 60% would vote for Hamas again if they had to choose between them and the PA. This has been consistent to some degree since 2007. Local journalists in Gaza have described widespread public support for the recent atrocities committed by Hamas, and mobs of ordinary Gazan civilians also actively participated in the kidnappings of Israelis following the October 7th, 2023 massacre.


Even Hamas’ rivals in the West Bank, the PA, directed their societies to join Hamas’ attack and boasted of their purported logistical support. Recently, a veteran Palestinian politician in the PA, Hanan Ashrawi, defended the massacre to Sky News as being a legitimate response to Israeli oppression. In response to the interviewer’s question about whether Israel can wipe out Hamas, she stated that “they [Israel] don’t understand that Hamas is a military and political organization, it has both wings. It has organizations, institutions, and social welfare programs. It’s not just a group of fighters who emerged out of nowhere. It’s part of the political fabric.”


Yet, PCPSR polls have consistently shown that approximately 70% of Gazans believe Hamas-run institutions are corrupt, approximately 50% of Gazans want to emigrate, and approximately 50% of Gazans want Hamas to accept a permanent two-state solution with Israel and end the conflict. 

Israel's Siege of Hamas

Sieges are an important aspect of modern military operations designed to isolate enemy forces physically and electronically. Sieges are a legitimate tactic of warfare. Generally speaking, they are permitted as long as the siege is not deliberately aimed at starving the local population. The sieging force has a qualified obligation to facilitate the delivery of food and medicine, but only as long as they can be reliably delivered without being diverted for use by the enemy military force. Since Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip following the October 7 attack by Palestinian terrorists, it has facilitated the flow of food, water, and medicine into the territory, despite evidence that Hamas has diverted the aid for its own purposes. 

Israel's Blockade of Gaza

A blockade is a military operation to prevent vessels from entering or leaving a coastal area, and sometimes including airfields, under the control of an enemy nation. Israel has imposed a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip since January 2009 in response to the launching of over 5,000 missiles and mortar bombs toward Israeli territory. Blockades are allowed for and regulated under international law. A United Nations panel of inquiry has stated that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip “was imposed as a legitimate security measure… and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”