What is Hamas?

GAZA CITY, GAZA - OCTOBER 07: Smoke rises after Palestinian members of the Ezz Al-Din Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas burn military armored vehicle belonging to Israeli forces near Gaza Strip, Gaza on October 07, 2023. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“Hamas is a militant movement and one of the Palestinian territories’ two major political parties,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Hamas is backed by Shi’ite Iran and has the same ideologies as the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Reuters, the Muslim Brotherhood was established in Egypt during the 1920s.

>> Read more trending news

Hamas governs more than 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is best known for its resistance to Israel, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Many countries consider Hamas a terrorist organization but many countries only say that about the organization’s military wing. Hamas is supported with material and finances from Iran and Turkey reportedly keeps some of its top leaders, the Council on Foreign Relations said.

The rival party to Hamas is called Fatah. It dominates the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO rules in the West Bank.

Hamas has been running the Gaza Strip since 2007 after a short civil war, Reuters reported. It was with Fatah.

“The Hamas takeover of Gaza followed its win in Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 – the last time they were held. Hamas accused Abbas of conspiring against it. Abbas described what happened as a coup,” according to Reuters.

What does Hamas stand for?

Hamas stands for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (“Islamic Resistance Movement”), according to the Council on Foreign Relations. It was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassi. Yassi was a local activist of the Muslim Brotherhood.

When was Hamas established?

Yassi established Hamas in December 1987, the Council on Foreign Relations said. It was established as the political arm of Gaza. It was created after a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The charter of Hamas was started in 1988 and called for “the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic society in historic Palestine.”

The organization first “employed” suicide bombing in April of 1993. This was five months before Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo Accords. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Oslo Accords was a pact made to limit self-government in the West Bank and Gaza. This area was called the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas reportedly condemned the Oslo Accords.

It was not until 1997 that the United States called Hamas a foreign terrorist organization. It was also called a terrorist organization by Israel, the European Union, Canada, Egypt and Japan, Reuters reported.

Who are the leaders?

The current political chief is Ismail Haniyeh, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, He replaced Khaled Meshaal in 2017. Haniyeh has been operating from Doha, Qatar since 2020. This is due to Egypt’s restriction of him moving into Gaza.

Yahya Sinwar overlooks the day-to-day from Gaza. Sinwar used to be the head of Hamas’ military wing. He was also in prison in Israel for 22 years. He was freed in 2011. Marwan Issa and Mohammed Deif are commanders of Hamas’s military wing, the Council on Foreign Relations said.

Comments on this article