Hamas (Arabic: حماس, romanized: Ḥamās, an acronym for حركة المقاومة الإسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah, “Islamic Resistance Movement”) is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamist militant organization and political party. Based in the Gaza Strip, Hamas has a strong social base in the Palestinian territories, and has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, after winning the 2006 Palestinian legislative election.
Hamas was founded in 1987, at the start of the First Intifada. It is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and its ideology is based on Sunni Islam. Hamas’s charter calls for the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel, and rejects all agreements made between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel.
Hamas has a military wing, known as the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which has carried out numerous attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and tunnel warfare. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, the European Union, and several other countries.
Despite its militant activity, Hamas is also a major social and political force in the Palestinian territories. It operates a vast network of schools, hospitals, and social services. Hamas is also popular among many Palestinians for its resistance to Israel.
In recent years, Hamas has engaged in a number of peace talks with Israel, but no lasting agreement has been reached. The two sides remain deeply divided on a number of key issues, including the borders of a future Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Hamas and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Hamas plays a central role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The group is seen by many Palestinians as a legitimate resistance movement, while Israel and its allies view it as a terrorist organization.
Hamas has been responsible for numerous attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and tunnel warfare. These attacks have killed hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers.
Israel has responded to Hamas attacks with airstrikes and military operations in the Gaza Strip. These operations have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, including many civilians.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complex and there is no easy solution. Hamas is a key player in the conflict, and its role must be taken into account in any attempt to find a lasting peace.
Hamas’s social and political role in the Palestinian territories
Hamas is not only a militant organization, but also a major social and political force in the Palestinian territories. It operates a vast network of schools, hospitals, and social services. Hamas is also popular among many Palestinians for its resistance to Israel.
Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, defeating the Fatah party of President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas’s victory was a reflection of the growing popularity of the group among Palestinians.
However, Hamas’s victory led to a split between Hamas and Fatah, and the two groups have been rivals ever since. Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, after defeating Fatah forces in a brief civil war.
Hamas has been criticized for its human rights record, including its use of torture and arbitrary detention. The group has also been accused of corruption and mismanagement.
Despite its shortcomings, Hamas remains a popular force among many Palestinians. The group is seen by many as a champion of the Palestinian cause and a defender of Palestinian rights.
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