Palestinians report 122 wounded in protests, including five from live fire, after tense week that saw three instances of rocket fire from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli strikes
Hamas is a militant and political Islamist group operating in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by much of the international community, but enjoys wide support from Palestinians as a legitimate force against Israel’s occupation.
The movement was founded as an offshoot of Egypt’s Islamic Brotherhood, and in 1987 Hamas spiritual leader and founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin established the movement’s military wing, which became known as Hamas. In 1988, in the wake of the outbreak of the First Intifada, Hamas published its official charter, in which it announced its departure from nonviolence in its struggle against Israel.
Hamas’ popularity among Palestinians comes partly from its tradition of providing welfare programs, such as schools and hospitals. The militant wing of Hamas adheres to the movement’s 1988 charter which calls for the liberation of all of historic Palestine, and views all lands under Israel’s domain as part of an Islamic Waqf, of which every inch must be liberated.
The signature of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was viewed by the Hamas leadership inside the territories and in exile as a violation of Palestinian rights, and in 1993 Hamas launched its first suicide attack inside Israel, a practice that it would uphold from then on, causing massive Israeli civilian casualties.
Hamas leaders have long been the target of Israeli assassinations. Yassin was killed in 2004 in a missile strike as he left a mosque in Gaza. His Hamas co-founder, Abdel Rantisi, was killed weeks later in an Israeli air strike. In 1997, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal was the target of a botched assassination attempt by agents from Israel’s Mossad espionage agency operating covertly in Jordan. Meshal’s life was saved when Israel agreed to hand over the antidote to the toxin used on him, in return for the release of the two Mossad agents caught and held in Jordan during the assassination attempt. Yassin, who was in an Israeli jail at the time, was released under the terms of the agreement.
Long-standing tensions between Hamas and the secular Fatah came to a head following the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, which gave Hamas a decisive victory and put it in charge of the political regime in the Palestinian territories. Hamas’ Gaza chief, Ismail Haniyeh, was named Palestinian prime minister, but Hamas’ status as a terror group resulted in immediate sanctions from Israel and other Western countries. The group rejected demands to adhere to previously signed peace agreements, renounce violence and accept Israel’s right to exist, and the sanctions were upheld.
Meanwhile, tensions with Fatah grew as the two factions attempted to cooperate with the framework of a unity government, but when the attempt failed and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the government, bloody clashes erupted between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza, resulting in the seizure of the area by Hamas in June 2007.
There have been numerous attempts by neighboring Arab countries to end the Hamas-Fatah rift, and form a unified Palestinian leadership. The failure of the two groups to come together has perpetuated the continuing division within the Palestinian Authority, with Fatah as de facto rulers in the West Bank, and Hamas firmly in control in Gaza.
Israeli military spokesman warns Hamas to restrain Islamic Jihad and keep demonstrations in check after three incidents of projectile fire ended a period of calm
Analysis Infiltration Under the Influence: Israel Believes Gaza Youth Attempting to Cross Border Are Using Drugs
The problem in Gaza is first and foremost socioeconomic. In spite of a certain amount of improvement in the supply of electricity and water in recent months, the result is still a rise in the level of violence
As the Palestinian Authority descends into severe economic crisis, signs of unrest piling up, as Hamas escalates rhetoric in hopes of securing Israeli concessions
The former Palestinian security prisoner's lawyer argued that his pardon could be revoked only if he committed a crime against state security
Analysis With Gaza-Israel Border Incidents, Hamas Trapped Between Push for Calm and Public Thirst for Resistance
Gaza group struggling to balance civil rule of the Strip, which includes agreements with Israel, and its commitment to military actions against the occupation
Organizers say factions agree to return to airborne firebombs, mass gatherings near border fence ■ Ultimatum comes after tense weekend that saw three Palestinians killed and skirmishes across the border
Joint statement follows weekend that saw three Palestinians killed and skirmishes across the border, as local media report Qatari envoy to arrive in Gaza Thursday
An all-out Iran offensive against Israel can be neutralized using a simple declaration of just one sentence
Hamas has a lot to lose from a major round of violence, but with election looming, Netanyahu's restraint may not last long
Palestinians report strikes on Hamas posts ■ Three rockets fired toward Israel earlier Saturday; two were intercepted, the Israeli military said
Earlier, 38 Palestinians were wounded, 20 by live fire, during protests at the Gaza-Israel border, the Gaza Health Ministry said
The Israel Prison Service will not put the newly-installed public phones to work unless prisoners give up completely on cellphones
Israeli officials argue West Bank killing of 19-year-old was a spur-of-the-moment decision and the two Palestinians who admitted to it had not been in contact with any organizations over it
Failed infiltration of four Palestinians from Strip shows Hamas’ tight grip is loosening ■ Caught killers of Dvir Sorek didn’t need to follow orders – they knew what was expected of them
Remnants of five millennia of history, from the Bronze Age to the Islamic caliphates and on down to Ottoman and British rule, are at risk, researchers and collectors warn
'People are no longer standing in line to volunteer,' says a former top Shin Bet official
Analysis Soldier's Stabbing May Have Been a Botched Kidnapping – West Bank Terrorists' Ultimate Mission
The use of force to free prisoners is a holy cause for terrorists' ethos, looking to Hamas’ success in the Gilad Shalit deal as a model to be imitated
The security agency says that one of the arrested men stored bomb-making materials at a school and set up his lab in a residential area
Escalating rhetoric, Kahol Lavan leader says that his leadership, Israel would launch military campaign if Hamas fails to meet its demands
Palestinian, armed with an assault rifle and grenades, was shot after trying to breach Israel-Gaza border
Revamped battle orders call for high-intensity campaign, with plans to inflict damage to civilian infrastructure and target members of Palestinian groups
Iran's Revolutionary Guards in contact with Palestinian group to try to force Israel to divert forces to the south in the event of war, sources say
Plaintiffs sought to hold the tech giant liable for providing the terror group a social media platform to promote its goals
The return of two civilians and the bodies of two soldiers held in Gaza might be at risk 'for reasons Israel knows,' Palestinian group states
Tehran's supreme leader told the group, headed by Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri, that 'supporting Palestine is an ideological matter' for Iran
In a statement Monday, the Islamic movement said recent remarks by Fathi Hammad, a member of its politburo, 'don’t represent the movement’s official positions'
Economic sanctions may give Trump better bargaining chips ■ An Iranian provocation may occur much closer to Israel than the Gulf ■ Why Israel's botched Gaza op was more John Le Carré than James Bond
28-year-old Mahmoud al-Adham was trying to turn away Palestinians approaching the Strip's border with Israel when he was shot