While terrorism and terrorist organizations

From Brothers to Bombers: the Case of Hamas

While terrorist act and terrorist organisations have existed for some clip, ne’er earlier have they been such an of import and pressing concern in the public consciousness. Until late, for most citizens of the universe, the menace of terrorist act was non a world, a mere “idea, ” something that happened in far-off and unsafe topographic points that would be hard for the mean individual to turn up on a map. September 11Thursdaychanged all that, along with the Madrid bombardments ( 11 March, 2004 ) and the London Underground bombardments ( 7 July, 2005 ) , amid other actions. Today, no 1 is wholly safe from terrorist act, whether it be an existent onslaught or the thought of one. The inquiry on many people’s heads is: why? What happened to further such a clime of choler and subsequent fright? Furthermore, who are these terrorists? What is their docket? What do they hold against “us? ” To reply these inquiries, it will be helpful to take one terrorist organisation and analyze it from top to bottom, including its beginnings, political orientation and construction. In this case, that group will be the extremist Islamic fundamentalist organisation known as Hamas.

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As antecedently stated, terrorist act is nil new. The difference now is that the regulations have changed, by and large ensuing in a skyrocketing of activity – enlisting, propaganda, radicalization, etc. – and, unluckily, in casualties. For illustration, the organisation in inquiry, Hamas ( intending “zeal” or “courage” ) , besides known as Harakat Al-Muqawama Al-Islamia ( Islamic Resistance Movement ) , began as an branch of the Palestinian subdivision of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was devoted mostly to peaceable activities. Most of its focal point was on advancing assorted societal services ( schools, mosques, young person Centres, trade brotherhoods, etc. ) ( Institute for Counter Terrorism, 2006 ) . But under the way of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, who took over the organisation in 1986, Hamas started to concentrate on more extremist, insurgent Acts of the Apostless, under the umbrella of a “holy war” to emancipate Palestine.

Part of the ground for this new way, which was embraced by the group’s leading and it protagonists, was because of the “large Numberss of refugees, the socio-economic adversities of the population in the refugee cantonments and the comparatively low position of the nationalist elements at that place. Hamas’ accent on a solution that would include the release of all Palestine was more attractive to the Gazans, beyond the societal factors that nourished the Islamic influence in that area” ( Institute for Counter Terrorism, 2006 ) . Resentment throughout Gaza and the West Bank had reached a febrility pitch, fuelled mostly by the words of Muslim churchmans who denounced Israel ‘s “brutal repression, extra-judicial violent deaths, mass detainments, house destructions, exiles, and so on” ( Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, 1996 ) .

On 6 December, 1986, things boiled over when an Israeli was stabbed while shopping in Gaza. Two yearss subsequently, four Palestinians were killed in a traffic accident, which resulted in public violences. During these, an 18-year old Palestinian male child was killed by Israeli soldiers, which merely worsened tensenesss and led to more presentations. This series of events came to be known as the First Intifada ( “uprising” ) , and it was precisely what Yassin needed ( Terrorism Knowledge Base, 2006 ) . By appealing to the combined forces of Palestinian patriotism and defeat, Yassin was able to solidify Hamas as a feasible and powerful force. His group presented a solution to the utmost poorness and humiliation suffered by the displaced – the terminal of Israel – and practically overnight he had a little ground forces at his disposal ( Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, 1996 ) .

Hamas does non acknowledge the right of Israel to be. Its belief is that Islamic rules forbid a Judaic province, and that the Judaic people have no legitimate claims on Israel ( Pincus, 2006 ) . Hamas regards the contemporary State of Israel, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as sacred land that can merely belong to Muslims. Furthermore, it claims that the battle ( jehad ) to take back the country from Israel is the spiritual responsibility of every Muslim.

In August, 1988, Hamas published the Islamic Covenant, which detailed its beliefs, chiefly the “destruction of the State of Israel and its replacing with a Palestinian Islamic Republic( Dinnick, 2006 ) . Here is the document’s Foreword:

Israel will be and will go on to be until Islam will kill it, merely as it obliterated others before it.

And here is its Introduction:

Our battle against the Jews is really great and really serious. It needs all sincere attempts. It is a measure that necessarily should be followed by other stairss. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this huge Arab and Islamic universe, until the enemy is vanquished and God ‘s triumph is realised.

Other parts carry on in a similar vena:

Article 6: The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian motion, whose commitment is to Allah, and whose manner of life is Islam. It strives to raise the streamer of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followings of all faiths can coexist in security and safety where their lives, ownerships and rights are concerned…

Article 13: There is no solution for the Palestinian inquiry except through Jihad. Enterprises, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of clip and vain enterprises. The Palestinian people know better than to accept to holding their hereafter, rights and destiny toyed with.

Article 32: After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to spread out from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will hold digested the part they overtook, they will draw a bead on to farther enlargement, and so on. Their program is embodied in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present behavior is the best cogent evidence of what we are stating ( all from MidEast Web, 1988 ) .

In 1989, a twelvemonth after the charter was created, Hamas began its run of panic. The first marks were Israeli soldiers, Palestinians suspected of join forcesing with Israel and Israeli civilians ( Pike, 2006 ) . While the world’s eyes were on the Oslo Peace Accord between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994, Hamas vowed to derail the negotiations through violent onslaughts. In April of that twelvemonth, a Hamas self-destruction bomber drove a auto filled with explosives into a coach in Afula, killing eight and injuring 50. Since so, Hamas has sponsored legion onslaughts, and 100s of people have been killed. The Hamas leading has become highly expert at wheedling hapless, immature work forces ( and sometimes adult females ) into going sufferer for the cause. Suicide missions are normally carried out on civilians in “soft target” countries like eating houses and coachs. While Al Qaeda prefers to assail 100s and even 1000s of people, Hamas typically targets a twelve or so victims at a clip ( Pike, 2006 ) .

Hamas’ construction is based on a combination of regional and functional organisation. The group maintains a clear differentiation between its covert ( military ) and open ( political ) activity. The former subdivision is reportedly composed of three wings: “an intelligence arm which gathers information about Palestinians suspected of coaction ( Jehaz Aman ) , an arm which pursues those who have violated Islamic jurisprudence ( Al-Majahadoun Al-Falestinioun ) , and the squads who are responsible for most of the panic onslaughts ( Izzedine al-Qassam ) ” ( Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, 1996 ) . The al-Qassam squads are made up of a few twelve members, slackly organized into panic cells, frequently runing independently of each other. Hamas leaders are based throughout the West Bank and Gaza, and have offices in Tehran, Damascus and Amman ( Terrorism Knowledge Base, 2006 ) .

Sheikh Yassin headed Hamas until he was arrested in May of 1989. Under him, a wide organisational web was set up, which directed the political and military subdivisions of the motion. Following his apprehension, every bit good as the apprehension of other secret agents, the centralised Hamas leading was weakened ( Institute for Counter Terrorism, 2006 ) .

In 1989, Musa Abu Marzuq was elected caput of the Political Bureau of Hamas. His primary function was to organize the international facets of Hamas’ terrorist activities, specifically the support and preparation of secret agents. Despite being briefly detained in 1997, and so expelled from Jordan in 1999, Marzuq is still active in the group, where he runs the Syrian subdivision out of Damascus ( Anti-Defamation League, 2001 ) .

Here are some other of import figures within the organisation:

Ismail Haniyeh

First on Hamas’ national campaigners list in the 25 January election. Current caput of Hamas in Gaza. Born in the Shati refugee cantonment in Gaza, and one of about four hundred people expelled by Israel to Lebanon in 1992. Was jailed for several old ages, and survived an blackwash effort in 2003.

Mahmoud al-Zahar

Born in Gaza, studied medical specialty in Cairo and became a sawbones and personal physician to Yassin, every bit good as a lector at Gaza ‘s Islamic University. Like Haniyeh, Zahar was expelled to Lebanon in 1992, has served clip in gaol, and survived an blackwash effort.

Sheikh Hassan Yousef

Head of Hamas in the West Bank since August 2001, and presently in an Israeli prison. Was besides deported to Lebanon in 1992.

Sheikh Mohammed Abu Tir

From Jerusalem and 2nd on Hamas’ national campaigners list. Easily recognizable because of his dyed, bright orange face fungus. Has spent 25 old ages in prison and is a former member of Fatah ( the Palestinian National Liberation Movement ) .

Jamila ShantiThird on Hamas’ national campaigners list. Founded the adult females ‘s subdivision of Hamas. Has a doctor’s degree in English and until late taught at Gaza ‘s Islamic University. The widow of Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a former leader of Hamas who was killed by Israeli forces in 2004.

Mohammed DeifBelieved to be the Gaza commanding officer of the military wing of Hamas, the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades. High on Israel’s most-wanted list, and has escaped several blackwash efforts. Was injured in one such effort, in September 2002. Even before he took over as Gaza commanding officer, Deif was wanted for be aftering legion suicide bombardments and other onslaughts. In August 2005, a tape of Deif was released in which he spoke of opposition as “a legal arm aboard political activity, ” threatened to do all of Palestine “hell” for Israel, and encouraged insurrectionists in Iraq ( all info from Silver, 2006 ) .

While Hamas boycotted the January 2005 presidential election, where Mahmoud Abbas was elected to replace Yasser Arafat, the group took portion in the municipal elections held later in the twelvemonth, and ended up taking control of Beit Lahia in Gaza, Qalqilyah in the West Bank and Rafah ( Pincus, 2006 ) . The January 2006 legislative elections marked a surprise and tremendous triumph for Hamas, which defeated the opinion Fatah party, deriving the bulk of parliamentary seats ( BBC News, 2006 ) . Many Palestinians saw the Fatah authorities as weak, corrupt and out of touch with their demands and concerns. In contrast, Hamas was regarded as “a legitimate opposition motion contending the Israeli business of the Palestinian territories” ( Aaronovitch, 2006 ) .

The election consequences sent shockwaves throughout the remainder of the universe, peculiarly those states who had long tried to work out the on-going Israeli-Palestinian struggle. The Bush disposal said it would non cover with Hamas under any fortunes until it stopped back uping violent onslaughts and recognized Israel’s right to be, words that were echoed by Israeli president Moshe Katsav and former premier curate Shimon Peres ( Pincus, 2006 ) .

As the Fatah president of Palestine vowed to go on the peace procedure, presentations erupted all over Gaza demanding his surrender. In response to all the international force per unit area for stableness, Hamas delivered its ain “roadmap” for peace in the Middle East, with such conditions as the “defeat of Israel” and the “defeat of everyone who of all time supported Israel, including the United States and Europe” ( McGreal, 2006 ) .

On 8 February, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal said that: “Anyone who thinks Hamas will alter is incorrect, ” adding: “I say to the [ European states ] : Hurry up and apologise to our state, because if you do non, you will repent it. This is because our state is come oning and is winning. Make non go forth a black grade in the corporate memory of the state, because our state will non forgive you” ( Benhorin, 2006 ) .

While on February 13, 2006, in an interview in Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Mashal softened his tone and claimed that Hamas would halt the force against Israel if it “recognized the 1967 boundary lines, withdrew itself from all Palestinian occupied districts ( including the West Bank and East Jerusalem ) and recognized Palestinian rights which would include the ‘right of return, ’” in May 2006, he went right back to the old rhetoric, endangering a new Intifada and to behead anyone who tried to convey down their cabinet ( AFX News, 2006 ) .

At the present clip, Hamas, Fatah and the Israeli authorities are co-existing in what can be called, at best a “delicate truce” and, at worst, a “ticking clip bomb.” Resentment from all sides is at an all-time high, and Hamas, while doing some paces in footings of political via media and seting a public “face” to its oft-perceived dark and unsafe inner universe, continues to spit out hateful anti-Israeli anti-semitic rhetoric. In add-on, they sporadically issue calls for new panic onslaughts, the latest of which commands its followings to strike non merely Israelis and “traitorous” Palestinians but anyone who supports or patrons Israel ( basically the United States, the country’s chief fiscal and military angel ) . The warning asks those loyal to their cause to aim U.S. involvements around the universe, non merely in Israel and the Middle East ( where their onslaughts have antecedently been confined to ) . Such a declaration posits Hamas as a possible new Al Qaeda, an organisation that is extremely extremist, profoundly, about zealously spiritual, and highly unsafe.

While the hereafter of Hamas, every bit good as the branchings of its Acts of the Apostless is unsure, through scrutiny and analysis, we can at least obtain some thought of what way they are headed and why. Merely by looking profoundly into the head of the “enemy” can any sort of understanding occur. And understanding doesn’t mean excusing the group’s activities ; nor does it stand for a complete and straight-out disapprobation ; alternatively, it is simply an effort to bridge boundaries and further a clime of peace, where the purposes and actions of terrorists are assessed, comprehended and cover, with, whether through judicial proceeding, countenances, negotiations or war. The end of complete apprehension may be an dreamer one, but in today’s universe, it could non be more of import.


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AFX News Limited. “Hamas Will End Armed Struggle if Israel Quits Territories.” February 12, 2006

Anti-Defamation League. “Musa Abu Marzuq.” 2001.

BBC News. “Hamas Sweeps to Election Victory.” January 26, 2006.

Benhorin, Yitzhak. “Hamas: Ceasefire for Return to 1967 Border.” January 30, 2006.

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Institute for Counter Terrorism. “Hamas.” 2006.

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.ict.org.il/organizations/orgdet.cfm? orgid=13 # paperss

McGreal, Chris. “ Hamas Drops Call for Destruction of Israel from Manifesto.” The Guardian. January 12, 2006.

Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, Terrorism Knowledge Base. “Group Profile: Hamas.” October 4, 2006.

MidEast Web. “ The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement ( Hamas ) .” August 18, 1988.

Morris, Benny.Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999. Knopf, New York, 1999.

Expressway, John. “Hamas.” Federation of American Scientists. March 8, 2006.

Pincus, Walter. “ Palestinian Parliament Gives New Power.” The Washington Post. February 13, 2006.

Schaebler, Birgit and Stenberg, Leif.Globalization and the Muslim World: Culture, Religion and Modernity. Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York, 2004.

Silver, Alexandra. “Hamas’ Leaders.” Council on Foreign Relations. February 10, 2006

Westcott, Kathryn. “Who are Hamas? ” BBC News Online. October 19, 2000

hypertext transfer protocol: //news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/978626.stm

Wilf, Dinnick. “ High-Stakes Political Poker: Coercing Hamas’ Hand.” ABC News. June 6, 2006.

Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, Bluma. “A Guide to Hamas.” The Judaic Post of New York. April, 1996.

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