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Posted by r2d2 02/26/2009 @ 00:56

Tags : hamas, palestinian authority, middle east, world

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Israeli Military Kills Hamas Operative - Washington Post
By Howard Schneider and Debbi Wilgoren AMMAN, Jordan, May 28 -- A longtime Hamas leader accused of plotting fatal attacks in Israel was killed during an exchange of gunfire Thursday after Israeli forces surrounded his West Bank home,...
Hamas condemns US charity members' prison terms - The Associated Press
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A senior Hamas official on Thursday criticized the prison sentences handed down by a US court to members of a Muslim charity that sent aid to the militant Palestinian group, calling the ruling politically motivated and unjust....
Hamas rejects sharing Gaza forces with Fatah - Xinhua
GAZA, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Islamic Hamas movement on Wednesday rejected sharing security forces in Gaza Strip with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party. Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said this decision has been handed to Egyptian...
Israeli forces kill local Hamas leader - CNN International
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli anti-terror forces killed a suspected West Bank Hamas military leader Thursday, the country's military announced. Abed El Majid Dodeen, 45, was shot dead in a joint operation by the Israeli Army and a police anti-terror unit,...
Hamas condemns US charity members' prison terms - Houston Chronicle
2009 AP DAMASCUS, Syria — A senior Hamas official has criticized as politically motivated and unjust the prison sentences handed down by a US court to members of a Muslim charity that sent aid to the militant Palestinian group....
Hamas accuses PNA legalizing Israeli settlements in W. Bank - Xinhua
GAZA, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic Hamas movement on Wednesday accused the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) of accepting the facts Israel imposes on the ground and legitimatising the settlements in the West Bank. Hamas made the accusation after...
Hamas rejects forcible solution to Palestinian schism - Xinhua
GAZA, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement on Thursday rejected calls by President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party for sending Arab forces to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to end the Palestinian schism. "Hamas will not accept any...
Biden's Message: Vote Hezbullah and Be Treated Like Hamas - Le ... - The Moderate Voice
“The summons issued by Joe Biden to the Lebanese people foreshadows that their nation would be subject to the same global humiliation endured by the Palestinians after an election that handed a parliamentary majority to Hamas - classified by Washington...
Israel: Hamas still smuggling SAMs into Gaza - World Tribune
TEL AVIV — Israel has assessed that the Hamas regime is still receiving shipments of man-portable air defense systems in the Gaza Strip. Officials said Israel's intelligence community has been tracking shipments of Russian-origin surface-to-air...
Iran's reformist presidential hopeful to back Hamas - AFP
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran's reformist presidential hopeful Mehdi Karroubi said on Monday he would support Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas if he is elected to office in next month's election. "It is natural that we politically back those Palestinian...

History of Hamas

The History of Hamas is an account of the Palestinian Sunni Islamist organization.

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin returned to Gaza from Cairo in the 1970s, where he set up Islamic charities, founding Hamas in 1987 as an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. According to the Israeli weekly Koteret Rashit (October 1987), "The Islamic associations as well as the had been supported and encouraged by the Israeli military authority" in charge of the (civilian) administration of the West Bank and Gaza. "They were authorized to receive money payments from abroad." By the end of 1992, there were 600 mosques in Gaza. Hamas attracted members through preaching and charitable work before spreading its influence into trade unions, universities, bazaars, professional organizations and local government political races beginning in December 2004. “Thanks to Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad (Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks), the Islamists were allowed to reinforce their presence in the occupied territories. Meanwhile, the members of Fatah (Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine) and the Palestinian Left were subjected to the most brutal form of repression”, according to L'Humanité. Indeed Israel supported and encouraged Hamas' early growth in an effort to undermine the secular Fatah movement of Yasser Arafat. According to UPI, Israel supported Hamas starting in the late 1970s as a "counterbalance to the Palestine Liberation Organization". At that time, Hamas's focus was on "religious and social work". The grassroots movement concentrated on social issues such as exposing corruption, administration of waqf (trusts) and organizing community projects.

In a statement to the Israeli Parliament's (the Knesset) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday February 12th 2007, Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert said "Netanyahu established Hamas, gave it life, freed Sheikh Yassin and gave him the opportunity to blossom".

The acronym "Hamas" first appeared in 1987 in a leaflet that accused the Israeli intelligence services of undermining the moral fiber of Palestinian youth as part of Mossad's recruitment of what Hamas termed "collaborators".

Between February and April 1988, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin raised several millions dollars from the Gulf states. Following Yasser Arafat's support of Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Gulf War, the Gulf states withdrew their funding from the PLO and directed it to Hamas. In prison since 1989, Yassin was released under “humanitarian reasons” by Prime Minister Netanyahu following a failed assassination attempt on Khaled Mashal, and expelled to Jordan, from where he was allowed to return to Gaza in October 1997. The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military branch, was created a year before the Oslo Accords, in an attempt to block those negotiations.

On January 26, 2004, senior Hamas official Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi offered a 10-year truce, or hudna, in return for a complete withdrawal by Israel from the territories captured in the Six Day War, and the establishment of a Palestinian state (it remade the same offer after winning the majority in the PLC, accepting the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative). Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin stated that the group could accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Rantissi confirmed that Hamas had come to the conclusion that it was "difficult to liberate all our land at this stage, so we accept a phased liberation." He said the truce could last 10 years, though "not more than 10 years".

From the time of an attack on the Israeli southern town of Be'er Sheva in August 2004, in which 15 people were killed and 125 wounded, the truce was generally observed. Hamas violated once, in August 2005, with an attack on the same bus station, wounding seven, and in several attacks on Israeli motorists — killing six in several attacks.

In the end of January 2004, Steve Cohen, a US civil servant in the State Department, was mandated by Colin Powell to attend a meeting with Hamas officials, according to the French newspaper Le Canard enchaîné. The mission was not only in informing itself about the objectives of the movement, according to the newspaper, but also to evaluate if Hamas could represent a counter-balance to al-Qaeda. In exchange, Hamas officials asked for the end of extra-judicial "targeted assassinations" practiced against them by the Israeli military.

While the group boycotted the 2005 Palestinian presidential election, it did participate in the 2005 municipal elections organized by Yasser Arafat in the occupied territories. In those elections it won control of over one third of Palestinian municipal councils, besting Fatah, which has traditionally been "the biggest force in Palestinian politics". With this electoral success behind it, Hamas contested the 2006 elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council as the main component of the List of Change and Reform.

In 2004, in a prelude to Israel's unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces carried out a number of military attacks on Gaza cities and refugees camps, seeking to draw out and kill Hamas-affiliated gunmen. Awareness of high casualties during such incursions has led the Hamas leadership to instruct its activists to avoid putting themselves needlessly in the line of fire. On 12 September 2005 IDF withdrew from the Gaza Strip and declared an official end to Israeli military rule in Gaza, though Israel still retains control of the airspace and of the sea. However, the Palestinan Authority argues that the occupation is on-going, as complete sovereignty includes control of both airspace and seaways. The Gaza strip has been called a "lawless open-air prison".

Hamas claimed that this unilateral withdrawal was a victory for its armed struggle and pledged to liberate all the occupied territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Fatah, on the other hand, viewed Ariel Sharon's unilateral plan as proof of the Palestinians' failure to obtain international recognition. Both criticized the disengagement plan, citing Sharon's simultaneous encouragement of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including Ma'ale Adummim, a large settlement east of Jerusalem.

While Hamas had boycotted the January 2005 presidential election, during which Mahmoud Abbas was elected to replace Yasser Arafat, it did participate in the municipal elections held between January and May 2005, in which it took control of Beit Lahia and Rafah in the Gaza Strip and Qalqilyah in the West Bank. The January 2006 legislative elections marked another victory for Hamas, which gained the majority of seats, defeating the ruling Fatah party. The "List of Change and Reform", as Hamas presented itself, obtained 42.9% of the vote and 74 of the 132 seats.

The result of the election was regarded as a major setback for governments attempting to mediate the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The George W. Bush administration immediately declared that it will not deal with Hamas until it renounces its support of suicide bombings and violence, and accepts Israel's right to exist. Israeli president Moshe Katsav and Israel's ex–prime minister Shimon Peres both said that, if Hamas will accept Israel's right to exist and give up violence, Israel should negotiate with the organization. President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would not support any efforts to cut off financial assistance to the Palestinians, stating that Hamas gained power by democratic means. He invited some Hamas leaders to Moscow beginning of March 2006, and in May, repeated that cutting funds to the Hamas was a "mistake".

The US and the EU cut all funds to the Palestinian Authority, with only Russia warning against the potential dangers of cutting out the PA from any western support. The EU (which gives $500 million per year to the PA) announced that future aid to the Palestinians was tied to "Three Principles" outlined by the international community — Hamas must renounce violence, it must recognize Israel's right to exist and it must express clear support for the Middle East peace process, as outlined in the 1993 Oslo Accords. Hamas does not seem to be ready to accept such conditions, and rejected them as "unfair". At best, they would be ready to accept the Arab Peace Initiative formulated on March 28, 2002 during the Arab League Beirut Summit: full normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 internationally recognized borders, implying Israeli evacuation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Furthermore, the US has imposed a financial blockade on the PA's banks, impeding some of the Arab League's funds (e.g. Saudi Arabia and Qatar) from being transferred to the PA.

Israel, on the other side, decided to cut transfers of the $55 million tax-receipts of the PA that it receives on the PA's behalf, since the PA doesn't have any access point to receive taxes. On February 19, 2006, interim Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert, who called the PA a "terrorist authority", decided to stop transfer of the $55 million tax-receipts to the PA, which accounts for a third of the PA's budget (two thirds of its proper budget) and insure the wages of 165 000 Palestinian civil servants (among them 60 000 security and police officers). Israel had already done that in 1991 and 1992, but international aid had covered up the budgetary losses. Israel also decided to increase controls on check-points, but finally decided against blocking Palestinians from commuting between Gaza and the West Bank and from prohibiting them to work in Israel. Criticizing these measures, moderate Labor leader Amir Peretz said that they were "indirect ways" to "get around Hamas and strengthen moderate forces" among the Palestinians.

In May 2006, following a World Bank report about the Palestinian economy, the Quartet on the Middle East (the United States, Russia, European Union, and the United Nations) agreed to transfer funds directly to the Palestinian population. Israeli minister of foreign affairs, Tzipi Livni, said the measure was "acceptable", while PA minister of foreign affairs, Mahmoud Zahar, welcomed the promise of aid but criticised attempts to bypass the PA: "We appreciate every effort in order to help the Palestinian people by legal channels... and the legal channel is the Palestinian Authority, whether the presidency or the government,".

Before the Israeli decision to cut transfer of tax receipts, Palestinian Assembly passed legislation giving to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, the power to appoint a court that could veto legislation passed by the new Hamas-led parliament to be sworn in start of February. The constitutional court would veto legislation deemed in violation of the Palestinians' Basic Law, a forerunner to the Palestinian constitution. Palestinian deputies also backed a decree that automatically makes members of the incoming parliament members of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) parliament in exile. Unlike the Hamas charter, the PLO charter recognises the legitimacy of Israel.

Although Hamas omitted its call for the destruction of Israel from its election manifesto, calling instead for "the establishment of an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem," several Hamas candidates insisted that the charter remains in force.

On February 8, Hamas head Khaled Mashal speaking in Cairo had clarified that "Anyone who thinks Hamas will change is wrong".

However, on February 13, 2006, in an interview in Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the same Khaled Mashal declared that Hamas would stop armed struggle against Israel if it recognized the 1967 borders, withdrew itself from all Palestinian occupied territories (including the West Bank and East Jerusalem) and recognized Palestinian rights that would include the "right of return". This was the first time that Hamas even talked about an eventual stop to armed struggle. But Mashal continued to refuse to acknowledge the Road map for peace, adopted by the Quartet in June 2003, "since nobody respects it". The Road map projected the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in 2005. A poll taken in 2006, published in Israel's The Jerusalem Post, showed that 75% of Hamas voters, based on the responses of "863 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and West Bank," opposed the destruction of Israel.

In April 2006, Henry Siegman, former director of the American Jewish Committee, stated that according to "a prominent senior member of Hamas's Political Committee" Hamas is prepared to explicitly recognize the state of Israel. "Members of Hamas's political directorate do not preclude significant changes over time in their policies toward Israel and in their founding charter, including recognition of Israel, and even mutual minor border adjustments. Such changes depend on Israel's recognition of Palestinian rights. Hamas will settle for nothing less than full reciprocity." These sentiments "are in striking contrast to the odiousness of Hamas's founding charter," said Siegman.

In May 2006, Hamas leaders threatened a new Intifada, as well as to decapitate anyone who tried to bring down their cabinet.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and his cabinet resigned, leaving Hamas to form a new government, which was completely formed on March 20. On February 19, Hamas had chosen Ismail Haniya as Prime minister of the PA, and on the same day the government of Israel decided counter-measures against the new Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (suspension of $55 million transfer of tax-receipts). After the victory, Israeli human rights organizations have called on Hamas to stop its terror campaign against civilians and to avoid using violence as a tool to achieve a political solution.

On March 20, 2006, Hamas unveiled its full cabinet list, placing loyal members in charge of all key ministries; of the 24 ministers appointed, the majority were Hamas (the others were independent or technocrats). Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah refused to join the Hamas government. The position of foreign minister was given to Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Gazan leader and target of previous assassination attempts by Israel. Saeed Seyam, another Hamas leader, was appointed interior minister, in charge of multiple security agencies. Hamas member and engineer Ala el-Deen Al-Araj was appointed economics minister. The position of finance minister was given to Omar Abdel-Razeq, Hamas election official and economics professor from the West Bank.

In his interview to The Sunday Telegraph, the newly appointed chief of the Palestinian security services Jamal Abu Samhadana stated: "We have only one enemy. They are Jews. We have no other enemy. I will continue to carry the rifle and pull the trigger whenever required to defend my people." However, president Mahmoud Abbas retained official control over the Palestinian security services.

Since the formation of the Hamas cabinet on March 20, 2006, tensions have progressively risen in the Gaza strip between Fatah and Hamas militants. In May 2006, The Sunday Times reported that Israeli security sources claimed they had uncovered a Hamas plot to assassinate president Mahmoud Abbas. This was officially denied by a Hamas spokesman, while Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina, described the report as "totally untrue". On May 8, three Palestinians were killed and 10 wounded in clashes in southern Gaza, near Khan Yunis, between rival Hamas and Fatah gunmen. The PA, confronted to the Quartet's blockade and Israel's refusal to hand out the $55 million in monthly tax revenues impedes it from paying its 165,000 employees. On May 6 and 7, hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza and the West Bank demanding payment of their wages. Although this inter-Palestinian incident had been one of the most serious since January, 2006, tension had been slowly risen with the "economic squeeze" on the PA.

Twelve people were killed during the first days of October 2006 in armed clashes between Fatah, and the Hamas Interior ministry police. These clashes started when the interior ministry militia forcibly dispersed a gathering of Policemen demonstrating against unpaid wages. The Fatah affliliated Al-Asqa brigades have threatened to assassinate Hamas leaders including Khaled Meshal, Saeed Seyam and Youssef al-Zahar. The Al-Asqa brigade kidnapped but then released a senior official in the Finance ministry.

On June 27, Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement on the prisoners' document, which included the forming of a national unity government.

On February 8, 2007, Hamas and Fatah signed a deal to end factional warfare that has killed nearly 200 Palestinians and to form a coalition, hoping this would lead Western powers to lift crippling sanctions imposed on the Hamas-led government.

On June 9, during or shortly after an Israeli operation, an explosion occurred on a busy Gaza beach, killing eight Palestinian civilians. It was initially assumed that Israeli shellings were responsible for the killings, although Israeli government officials later denied this. Prompted by the recent events Hamas formally withdrew from its 16-month ceasefire on June 10, and took responsibility for the ongoing Qassam rocket attacks being launched from Gaza into Israel.

On June 24, Israeli operatives apprehended Osama and Mustafa Muamar in the Gaza Strip, alleged by Israel to be Hamas members. On June 25, a Hamas attack in Israel resulted in the deaths of two Israeli soldiers and the capture of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit. Israel then launched Operation Summer Rains on June 28 to recover the captured soldier. The ongoing operation initially consisted of heavy bombardment of bridges, roads, and the only power station in Gaza. Several PA facilities were also bombed, such as the Palestinian Interior Ministry and the office of the Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.

On June 29, Israel captured 64 Hamas officials. Amongst them were eight Palestinian Authority cabinet ministers and up to twenty members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well as heads of regional councils, and the mayor of Qalqilyah and his deputy. At least a third of the Hamas cabinet was captured and held by Israel. On 6 August Israeli forces detained the Hamas' Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Aziz Dweik, at his home in the West Bank.

In November 2006, a 64-year-old woman executed a suicide bombing mission, killing herself and slightly injuring 2 Israeli soldiers. Hamas claimed responsibility and its spokesman, Abu Obeida declared that "both Palestinian men and women are committed to battling the Israelis".

On April 24, 2007 "six rockets were launched from Gaza , two of which landed in Israel". According to Bloomberg news, Palestinians said the rockets were in response to Israeli military action over the previous weekend which had "killed as many as eight people in the West Bank, where there is no cease-fire, and one in Gaza." Most of the dead were militants, but Palestinians said at least two civilians, including a 17-year-old girl, were killed. Hamas announced that it considered the truce to be over.

The rocket attack, which came on Israel's 59th Independence Day, caused no damage or injury. However, it marked the first time Hamas openly acknowledged firing shells toward Israel since agreeing to a cease-fire along the Gaza-Israel border in November.

Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit's kidnappers demand the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including veterans and those involved in killing or wounding Israelis.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on April 23, 2007 that freeing soldiers is important to the government, but that it would not repeat "mistakes made in the past" by releasing violent prisoners who then carried out more attacks against Israelis. But Olmert said there would be "no escape in the end from making a difficult decision" on trading prisoners for the captured Israeli troops.

Hamas militants stated on April 24, 2007 that they had launched 40 rockets and 70 mortar shells. The Israeli military said it could confirm six rockets and eight mortars. Two of the rockets fell in Israel, north of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said - they added that the attack was a diversion for an attempt by Hamas gunmen to kidnap IDF soldier.

In June, renewed fighting broke out between Hamas and Fatah. As of June 14, 2007, the current Palestinian government has been dissolved. President Mahmoud Abbas has dismissed the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government. .

There was a brief war in which Fatah was completely routed, and the Palestinian Authority was effectively split in two, with Hamas in complete control of Gaza and Fatah in control of the West Bank. After executing some Fatah fighters, the Hamas leadership announced an amnesty. However, it is reported that people were still being killed, as of June 16th.

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Hamas emblem

Hamas (حماس Ḥamās, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamat al-Islāmiyyah, meaning "Islamic Resistance Movement") is an Islamic Palestinian socio-political organization which includes a paramilitary force, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Since June 2007, Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories.

Hamas was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi and Mohammad Taha of the Palestinian wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the First Intifada, an uprising against Israeli rule in the Palestinian Territories. Hamas launched numerous suicide bombings against Israel, the first of them in April, 1993. Hamas ceased the attacks in 2005 and renounced them in April 2006. Hamas has also been responsible for Israel-targeted rocket attacks, IED attacks, and shootings, but reduced most of those operations in 2005 and 2006.

In January 2006, Hamas was successful in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, taking 76 of the 132 seats in the chamber, while the previous ruling Fatah party took 43. After Hamas's election victory, violent and non-violent infighting arose between Hamas and Fatah. Following the Battle of Gaza in June 2007, elected Hamas officials were ousted from their positions in the Palestinian National Authority government in the West Bank and replaced by rival Fatah members and independents. Hamas retained control of Gaza. On June 18, 2007, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah) issued a decree outlawing the Hamas militia. Israel immediately thereafter imposed an economic blockade on Gaza, and Hamas has repeatedly launched rocket attacks upon areas of Israel near its border with Gaza because of the blockade. After the end of a six-month ceasefire the conflict escalated, and Israel invaded Hamas-ruled Gaza in late December, 2008. The Gaza conflict concluded in mid-January, 2009.

Through its funding and management of schools, health-care clinics, mosques, youth groups, athletic clubs and day-care centers, Hamas by the mid-1990s had attained a "well-entrenched" presence in the West Bank and Gaza. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of Hamas revenues fund health, social welfare, religious, cultural, and educational services.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, and the United States. Although Australia and the United Kingdom list only the military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization. The United States and the European Union have implemented restrictive measures against Hamas on an international level.

Some disagreement exists over the meaning of the word "Hamas". Hamas is an acronym of the Arabic phrase حركة المقاومة الاسلامية, or Harakat al-Muqāwama al-Islāmiyya or "Islamic Resistance Movement". In Arabic the word "Hamās" translates roughly to "enthusiasm, zeal, élan, or fighting spirit". The initial consonant is not the ordinary /h/ of English, but a slightly more rasping sound, the voiceless pharyngeal fricative /ħ/, transcribed as <ḥ>; it is for this reason that speakers of Hebrew frequently use the voiceless uvular fricative /χ/, the equivalent sound for most Hebrew speakers.

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing formed in 1992, is named in commemoration of influential Palestinian nationalist Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. Armed Hamas cells sometimes refer to themselves as "Students of Ayyash", "Students of the Engineer", or "Yahya Ayyash Units", to commemorate Yahya Ayyash, an early Hamas bomb-maker killed in 1996.

Hamas wants to create an Islamic state in the West Bank and the Gaza strip, a goal which combines Palestinian nationalism with Islamist objectives. Hamas's 1988 charter calls for the replacement of Israel and the Palestinian Territories with an Islamic Palestinian state. However, Hamas did not mention that goal in its electoral manifesto during the January 2006 election campaign, though the manifesto did call for maintaining the armed struggle against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

After the elections, in April, 2006, Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar did not rule out the possibility of accepting a temporary two-state solution, but also stated that he dreamed "of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it . . . . I hope that our dream to have our independent state on all historic Palestine (will materialize). . . . This dream will become real one day. I'm certain of this because there is no place for the state of Israel on this land". Al-Zahar added that he did not rule out the possibility of having Jews, Muslims and Christians living under the sovereignty of an Islamic state, stating that the Palestinians had never hated the Jews and that only the Israeli occupation was their enemy.

The charter's current status within Hamas is unclear. For example, Mousa Abu Marzook, the deputy of the political bureau of Hamas, in 2007 described the charter as "an essentially revolutionary document born of the intolerable conditions under occupation" in 1988. Marzook added that "if every state or movement were to be judged solely by its foundational, revolutionary documents . . ., there would be a good deal to answer for on all sides," noting as an example that the U.S. Constitution engaged in codifying slavery. Senior British Diplomat and former British Ambassador to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock stated in early 2009 that the Hamas charter was "drawn up by a Hamas-linked imam some years ago and has never been adopted since Hamas was elected as the Palestinian government in 2006". Greenstock also stated that Hamas is not intent on the destruction of Israel. Finally, according to investigations by Israeli daily "The Jerusalem Post" in 2006, representatives of Hamas in Beirut, Damascus and London had intended to rewrite the charter. Azzam Tamimi, Director of the London-based Institute of Islamic Political Thinking, told the newspaper in at telephone interview: "All the madness from the Protocols of Elders of Zion and the conspiracy theory must be eradicated. It should never have been there in the first place".

The Charter outlines the organization's position on various issues, including social and economic development and ideological influences, education, as well as its position regarding Israel. Amongst many other things, it reiterates the group's rejection of the principle of coexistence with Zionism, which it defines as a danger not just to Palestinians, but to all Arab states. While primarily focusing on what it calls the "Zionist invasion" of Palestine as the cause of conflict, in places the Charter asserts that Zionism was able to achieve its ends due to the activities of secret organizations such as Freemasons and cites as an example the ability of Zionists to obtain the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The Charter asserts that through shrewd manipulation of imperial countries and secret societies, Zionists were behind a wide range of events and disasters going as far back in history as the French Revolution and that "There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it." The Charter also selectively quotes Islamic religious texts to provide justification for fighting against and killing Jews.

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin founded Hamas in 1987 as an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. The acronym "Hamas" first appeared in 1987 in a leaflet that accused the Israeli intelligence services of undermining the moral fiber of Palestinian youth as part of Mossad's recruitment of what Hamas termed "collaborators". According to Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim, Israel had provided support to a nascent Hamas in the late 1980s to weaken Yasser Arafat's secular nationalist movement Fatah.

Hamas's military branch, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was created in 1992. During the 1990s and 2000s it conducted numerous suicide bombings and other attacks directed against civilians, including the 2002 Passover suicide bombing.

Hamas was banned in Jordan in 1999, reportedly in-part at the request of the United States, Israelis, and the Palestinian Authority.

In January, 2004, Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin stated that the group would end armed resistance in exchange for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem, and that restoring Palestinians' "historical rights" (relating to their 1948 expulsion from Palestine) "would be left for future generations." On January 25, 2004, senior Hamas official Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi offered a 10-year truce, or hudna, in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the complete withdrawal by Israel from the territories captured in the Six Day War of 1967. Al-Rantissi stated that Hamas had come to the conclusion that it was "difficult to liberate all our land at this stage, so we accept a phased liberation." Israel immediately dismissed al-Rantissi's statements as insincere and a smokescreen for military preparations. Yassin was killed March 22, 2004, by a targeted Israeli air strike,, and al-Rantisi was killed by a similar air strike on April 18, 2004.

After an attack on the southern Israeli town of Be'er Sheva in August 2004, in which 15 civilians were killed and 125 wounded, the truce was generally observed. However, in 2005, a group claiming to be aligned with Hamas was involved in several attacks on Israelis in the Hebron area of the West Bank, killing six.

Hamas had omitted its call for an end to Israel from its election manifesto, calling instead for "the establishment of an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem." In early February, 2006, after its victory in the 2006 parliamentary elections, Hamas reiterated that it was giving up suicide attacks and offered Israel a 10-year truce "in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories: the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem," and recognition of Palestinian rights including the "right of return." Mashal added that Hamas was not calling for a final end to armed operations against Israel, and it would not impede other Palestinian groups from carrying out such operations.

Mashal did not recognize a leading role for the Road map for peace, adopted by the Quartet in June 2003, because "The problem is not Hamas' stance, but Israel's stance. It is in fact not honoring the Road Map". The Road map had projected the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in 2005. Instead, Hamas took a stance favoring renewed support for the 2002 Arab peace initiative.

In May, 2006, after the U.S. and other governments imposed sanctions on the Palestinian territories in the wake of Hamas’ election victory, Hassan al-Safi, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, threatened a new Intifada against those U.S.-led international forces.

After the formation of the Hamas cabinet on 20 March 2006, tensions between Fatah and Hamas militants progressively rose in the Gaza strip, leading to demonstrations, violence and repeated attempts at a truce.

On 27 June 2006, Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement which included the forming of a national unity government. On 8 February 2007, Hamas and Fatah signed a deal to end factional warfare that killed nearly 200 Palestinians, and to form a coalition, hoping this would lead Western powers to lift crippling sanctions imposed on the Hamas-led government.

The events leading to a mid-2006 conflict between Israel and Hamas began on 9 June 2006. During an Israeli artillery operation, an explosion occurred on a busy Gaza beach, killing eight Palestinian civilians. It was initially assumed that Israeli shellings were responsible for the killings, but Israeli government officials later denied this. Hamas formally withdrew from its 16-month ceasefire on June 10, taking responsibility for the subsequent Qassam rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel.

On 29 June, following an incursion by Hamas in which Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured, Israel captured 64 Hamas officials. Among them were 8 Palestinian Authority cabinet ministers and up to 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well as heads of regional councils, and the mayor of Qalqilyah and his deputy. At least a third of the Hamas cabinet was captured and held by Israel. On August 6 Israeli forces detained the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Hamas member Aziz Dweik, at his home in the West Bank.

In June, renewed fighting broke out between Hamas and Fatah. After a brief civil war, Hamas maintained control of Gaza and the Fatah controlled the West Bank. President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government and outlawed the Hamas militia.

According to an article in the magazine Vanity Fair, in the months leading up to June 2007 Battle of Gaza, the United States, with the assistance of Israel, had armed and funded militias controlled by Mohammed Dahlan and nominally loyal to Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction. According to the magazine, the intention was to overthrow the Hamas-led government so that it could be replaced with a US-backed "emergency government." The plan was reportedly approved by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush.

Leaders of Hamas and Fatah later met in the Yemeni capital San‘a’ on 23 March 2008 and agreed to the tentative "Sana'a Declaration" to resume conciliatory talks.

Immediately upon the conclusion of the Battle of Gaza, Israel imposed an economic blockade on Gaza, and Hamas repeatedly launched rocket attacks upon areas of Israel near its border with Gaza because of the blockade. On June 18, 2008, Israel and Hamas announced a ceasefire, which formally began on June 19, 2008. The agreement was reached after talks between the two camps were conducted through Egyptian mediators in Cairo. As part of the ceasefire, Israel agreed to allow limited commercial shipping across its border with Gaza, barring any breakdown of the tentative peace deal, and Hamas hinted that it would discuss the release of Gilad Shalit. Hamas committed itself to enforce the ceasefire on the other Palestinian organizations . While Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire, the lull was sporadically violated by other groups, sometimes in defiance of Hamas . The ceasefire seriously eroded on November 4, 2008, after six Hamas paramilitary died during an Israeli incursion intended, Israel said, to destroy a tunnel dug by militants to abduct Israeli troops. The conflict escalated with Israel’s invasion of Hamas-ruled Gaza in late December, 2008. Both sides declared unilateral ceasefires on January 18, 2009.

In February 2005, Hamas had declared a unilateral ceasefire with Israel, but this was ended after Israeli air strikes on tunnels Hamas used to transport weapons and civilian goods into Gaza. Ali Abunimah, author of "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse," writes that Hamas "had observed the unilateral truce with Israel. It had given up suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. And there was no response to that. On the contrary." Mashal reaffirmed the long-term truce offer in a March 5, 2008 interview with Al Jazeera English. citing Hamas's signing of the 2005 Cairo Declaration and the National Reconciliation Document.

On 17 June 2008, and after months of mediation by Egypt, Egyptian mediators announced that an informal truce was agreed between Hamas and Israel. The six-month ceasefire was set to start from 19 June 2008. Israeli officials initially declined to confirm or deny the agreement while Hamas announced that it would "adhere to the timetable which was set by Egypt but it is Hamas's right to respond to any Israeli aggression before its implementation".

On November 4, 2008 Israeli forces killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid inside the Gaza Strip. Hamas responded with a barrage of rockets. During November a total of 190 home made rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel.

Over the weekend of 27-28 December, Israel implemented Operation Cast Lead against Hamas. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said "We warned Hamas repeatedly that rejecting the truce would push Israel to aggression against Gaza."Hamas has estimated that at least 100 members of its security forces had been killed. According to Israel, militant training camps, rocket-manufacturing facilities and weapons warehouses that had been pre-identified were hit, and later they attacked rocket and mortar squads who fired around 180 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities. The chief of Gaza's police forces, Tawfiq Jabber, head of the General Security Service Salah Abu Shrakh, senior religious authority and official Nizar Rayyan, and Interior Minister Said Seyam were among those killed. Although Israel sent out thousands of cell-phone messages urging residents of Gaza to leave houses where weapons may be stored, in an attempt to minimise civilian casualties, there have been widespread reports of civilian casualties including allegations of the deliberate targeting of Palestinian civilians.

Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire in their Gaza operations on 17 January 2009. Hamas responded the following day by announcing a one week ceasefire to give Israel time to withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights documented the deaths of 1,284 people in the war, of whom 894 appeared to be civilians, including 280 aged under 18. A further 167 members of Hamas's police force died. Earlier, on January 18, 2009, the Center reported that 95 of the 1194 Gazans officially registered as killed from December 27 to January 17 were Hamas or other militia. In contrast, Israel has estimated it killed about 500 paramilitary fighters during the conflict. On January 19, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia pledged $1 billion to help rebuild the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is particularly popular among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, though it also has a following in the West Bank, and to a lesser extent in other Middle Eastern countries. Its popularity stems in part from its welfare and social services to Palestinians in the occupied territories, including school and hospital construction. The group devotes much of its estimated $70 million annual budget to an extensive social services network, running many relief and education programs, and funds schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues. Such services arent't generally provided by The Palestinian Authority. According to the Israeli scholar Reuven Paz "approximately 90 percent of the organization's work is in social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities".

In 1973, the Islamic center 'Mujamma' was established in Gaza and started to offer clinics, blood banks, day care, medical treatment, meals and youth clubs. The centre plays an important role for providing social care to the people, particularly those living in refugee camps. It also extended financial aid and scholarships to young people who wanted to study in Saudi Arabia and the West. In particular, Hamas funded health services where people could receive free or inexpensive medical treatment. Hamas greatly contributed to the health sector, and facilitated hospital and physician services in the Palestinian territory. On the other hand, Hamas’s use of hospitals is sometimes criticised as purportedly serving the promotion of suicide bombings and other forms of violence against Israel. The party is also known to support families of those who have been killed (including suicide bombers), wounded or imprisoned by Israel, including providing a monthly allowance of $100. Families of militants not affiliated with Hamas receive slightly less.

Hamas has funded education as well as the health service, and built Islamic charities, libraries, mosques, education centers for women. They also built nurseries, kindergartens and supervised religious schools that provide free meals to children. When children attend their schools and mosques, parents are required to sign oaths of allegiance. Refugees, as well as those left without homes, are able to claim financial and technical assistance from Hamas.

The work of Hamas in these fields supplements that provided by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA). Hamas is also well regarded by Palestinians for its efficiency and perceived lack of corruption compared to Fatah.

The Council on Foreign Relations estimates Hamas's annual budget at $70 million. The largest backer of Hamas is Saudi Arabia, with over 50% of its funds coming from that country, mainly through Islamic charity organizations. An earlier estimate by GlobalSecurity.org estimated a $50 million annual budget, mostly supplied by private charitable associations but with $12 million supplied directly by Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia, and a further $3 million from Iran. The funding by Saudi Arabia continues despite Saudi pledges to stop funding groups such as Hamas that have used violence, and its recent denouncements of Hamas' lack of unity with Fatah. According to the U.S. State Dept, Hamas is funded by Iran, Palestinian expatriates, and "private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other Arab states." However, senior British Diplomat and former British Ambassador to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock stated in an interview on the BBC Today Programme that the Hamas is not politically tied to Iran.

In Hamas, there is a strict separation of funds used for military operations and those used for political, social or other activities.The majority of funds for military activities, around $3 million annually, comes from Iran while funds from charity organisations, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States are used only for political and social activities.

Various sources, among them United Press International, Gérard Chaliand and L'Humanité have claimed that Hamas' early growth had been supported by the Mossad as a "counterbalance to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)". The French investigative newspaper Le Canard enchaîné claimed that Shin Bet had also supported Hamas as a counterweight to the PLO and Fatah. It speculated that this was an attempt to give "a religious slant to the conflict, in order to make the West believe that the conflict was between Jews and Muslims", perhaps in order to support the controversial thesis of a "clash of civilizations". In a statement to the Israeli Parliament's (the Knesset) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday February 12 2007, Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert said "Netanyahu established Hamas, gave it life, freed Sheikh Yassin and gave him the opportunity to blossom".

The charitable trust Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was accused in December 2001 of funding Hamas. The case against the foundation, however, ended in a mistrial in which, of the 200 charges filed by the United States Justice Department, the jurors had acquitted on some counts and were deadlocked on charges ranging from tax violations to providing material support for terrorists. However in a retrial, on November 24, 2008 the U.S. won convictions of the five leaders of the Holy Land Foundation on all 108 counts of the original indictment.

The main website of Hamas provides translations of official communiqués in Persian, Urdu, Indonesian, Russian, English, and Arabic.

In 2005, Hamas announced its intention to launch an experimental TV channel, "Al-Aqsa TV". The station was launched on January 7, 2006, less than three weeks before the Palestinian legislative elections. It has shown television programs, including some children's television, which deliver anti-semitic messages. Hamas has stated that the television station is "an independent media institution that often does not express the views of the Palestinian government headed by Ismail Haniyeh or of the Hamas movement," and that Hamas does not hold anti-semitic views.

But it should be made clear that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian government in Gaza denies the Nazi Holocaust. The Holocaust was not only a crime against humanity but one of the most abhorrent crimes in modern history. We condemn it as we condemn every abuse of humanity and all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender or nationality. And at the same time as we unreservedly condemn the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews of Europe, we categorically reject the exploitation of the Holocaust by the Zionists to justify their crimes and harness international acceptance of the campaign of ethnic cleansing and subjection they have been waging against us - to the point where in February the Israeli deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai threatened the people of Gaza with a "holocaust".

During the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, the Israeli government and military criticized Hamas for blending into or hiding among the Palestinian civilian population. The Israeli government published what it said was video evidence of human shield tactics by Hamas. Israel also claimed that Hamas frequently used mosques as hideouts and places to store weapons, and that Hamas paramilitary soldiers stored weapons in their homes, making it difficult to ensure that civilians close to legitimate military targets are not hurt during Israeli military operations. Former Shin Bet head Avi Dichter has claimed that Gaza's Shifa Hospital is used as a meeting place and hiding place for Hamas.

The accusations are difficult to confirm or deny, as during the Gaza conflict with Hamas Israel denied Western reporters access to Gaza. In the case of an Israeli mortar strike that killed 43 people near a U.N. school, the Israeli army stated that it was responding to a mortar attack coming from within the school, a claim which U.N. and school officials rejected. A later investigation by Israel reported that Hamas paramilitary had launched a rocket from a yard adjacent to the school and the mortar strike that hit next to the school was due to a GPS error. (Immediately after the strike, some Israeli military and UN officials stated that the Israeli mortar had landed within school grounds; the UN later clarified that the missiles had landed adjacent to the school.) The 'hiding among civilians' charge against Hamas was called "full of holes" in one Arab publication, which stated that no international human rights group had accused Hamas of using civilians as 'human shields' during the conflict.

Al-Aqsa TV is a television channel founded by Hamas. Its programming includes ideologically tinged children's shows, news talk, and religiously inspired entertainment. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the station promotes terrorist activity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis. Hamas has stated that the television station is "an independent media institution that often does not express the views of the Palestinian government headed by Ismail Haniyeh or of the Hamas movement," and that Hamas does not hold anti-semitic views.

Human rights groups and Gazans accuse Hamas of forcefully suppressing dissent. An August 26, 2007 article from British conservative newspaper The Telegraph accuses Hamas of using criminal means, including torture, political detentions, and firing on unarmed protesters who object to Hamas policies. In October 2008, Hamas announced it would release all political prisoners in its custody in Gaza. Several hours after the announcement, 17 Fatah members were released.

Hamas members have also harassed Palestinian journalists in Gaza. On August 29, 2007 Palestinian health officials reported that Hamas had been shutting down Gaza clinics in retaliation for doctor strikes - Hamas confirmed that "punitive measure against doctors" who, according to Hamas, "incite others to strike and suspend services" have been taken.

In 2007 Hamas disbanded the Gaza Strip branch of the pro-Fatah Union of Palestinian Journalists, a move that was criticised by Reporters without borders.

On September 7, 2007 Hamas banned public prayers, after Fatah supporters began holding worship sessions that quickly escalated into raucous protests against Hamas rule. Hamas security forces beat several gathering supporters and journalists.

On November 14, 2007 Hamas arrested a British journalist and canceled all press cards in Gaza. No news photography is allowed without a license from Hamas.

On February 8, 2008 Hamas banned distribution of Al-Ayyam newspaper and closure of its offices in the Gaza Strip due to a caricature that mocked legislators loyal to Hamas,. Hamas had later issued an arrest request for the editor.

Hamas uses both political activities and violence in pursuit of its goals. For example, while politically engaged in the 2006 Palestinian Territories parliamentary election campaign, Hamas stated in its election manifesto that it was prepared to use "armed resistance to end the occupation".

During the First Intifada (1987- 1993), Hamas violence was directed at Israel's military and security forces and not civilians. Hamas moved from Israeli military targets to more extreme violence targeting civilians perhaps in response to Baruch Goldstein's attack on the Cave of the Patriarchs mosque in February 1994. Hamas' first use of suicide bombing followed on April 16, 1994 when a suicide bomber driving an explosive-laden van detonated between two buses parked at a restaurant, killing eight and wounding 50 people. From that time until 2005, Hamas launched many suicide attacks against Israeli civilians, seeing the attacks as a legitimate aspect of its asymmetric warfare against Israel. Hamas ceased such attacks in 2005 and renounced them in April 2006.

Until 2005 there were several large-scale suicide bombings against Israeli civilian targets, the most deadly of which was the bombing of a Netanya hotel on 27 March 2002, in which 30 people were killed and 140 were wounded. This attack has also been referred to as the Passover massacre since it took place on the first night of the Jewish festival of Passover. According to Israel, from November 2000 to April 2004, 377 Israeli citizens and soldiers were killed and 2,076 wounded in 425 military and other attacks by Hamas. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a comprehensive list of Hamas attacks.

In a 2002 report, Human Rights Watch stated that Hamas' leaders "should be held accountable for the war crimes and crimes against humanity" that have been committed by its members. In May 2006 Israel arrested Hamas top official Ibrahim Hamed whom Israeli security officials claimed was responsible for dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks on Israelis.

During the second Intifada, Hamas, along with the Islamic Jihad Movement, were primarily responsible for military actions and other violence directed against Israel. Hamas has conducted its actions mainly through its military wing — the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Since 2002, paramilitary soldiers of Hamas and other groups have used homemade Qassam rockets to hit Israeli towns in the Negev, such as Sderot killing fifteen people and wounding dozens.. Hamas has claimed responsibility for most of these attacks, and has condoned them when it did not acknowledge responsibility. These attacks are outlined in the List of Qassam rocket attacks. The introduction of the Qassam-2 rocket has enabled Palestinian paramilitary groups to reach, from Gaza, such Israeli cities such as Ashkelon.

Hamas has made great use of guerrilla tactics in the Gaza Strip and to a lesser degree the West Bank. Hamas has successfully adapted these techniques over the years since its inception. According to a 2006 report by rival Fatah party, Hamas had smuggled "between several hundred and 1,300 tons" of advanced rockets, along with other weaponry, into Gaza. Some Israelis and some Gazans both noted similarities in Hamas's military buildup to that of Hezbollah in the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.

Hamas has used IEDs and anti-tank rockets against the IDF in Gaza. The latter include standard RPG-7 warheads and home-made rockets such as the Al-Bana, Al-Batar and Al-Yasin. The IDF has a difficult, if not impossible time trying to find hidden weapons caches in Palestinian areas — this is due to the high local support base Hamas enjoys.

Hamas has an extensive infrastructure in the US mostly revolving around the activities of fundraising, recruiting and training members, directing operations against Israel, organizing political support and operating through human-rights front groups. While Hamas has not acted outside Israel, it has the capability of carrying out attacks in America if it decided to enlarge the scope of its operations.

It is the FBI's assessment, at this time, that there is a limited threat of a coordinated terrorist attack in the U.S. from Palestinian terrorist organizations, such as HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade. These groups have maintained a longstanding policy of focusing their attacks on Israeli targets in Israel and the Palestinian territories. We believe that the primary interest of Palestinian terrorist groups in the U.S. remains the raising of funds to support their regional goals. Of all the Palestinian groups, HAMAS has the largest presence in the U.S. with a robust infrastructure, primarily focused on fundraising, propaganda for the Palestinian cause, and proselytizing. Although it would be a major strategic shift for HAMAS, its U.S. network is theoretically capable of facilitating acts of terrorism in the U.S.

In addition to killing Israeli civilians and armed forces, Hamas has also attacked suspected Palestinian collaborators, and Fatah rivals. In the wake of the Israeli invasion of Gaza in January 2009, Hamas has been accused of systematically rounding up, torturing and summarily executing Fatah supporters suspected of supplying information to Israel.

On February 2007, members of the Palestinian Red Crescent, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said that Hamas had confiscated their humanitarian supply convoys that were destined for Palestinian civilians. Hamas claims the supplies were heading to former members of Fatah.

Human Rights Watch has cited a number of summary executions as particular examples of violations of the rules of warfare, including the case of Muhammad Swairki, 28, a cook for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's presidential guard, who was thrown to his death, with his hands and legs tied, from a 15-story apartment building in Gaza City.

Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups are accused of frequently extrajudicially executing or otherwise punishing those considered collaborators with Israel. Frequent killings of unarmed people have also occurred during Hamas-Fatah clashes.

Thousands of angry Hamas loyalists marched on 24 February 2008 at the funeral of a Muslim preacher who died in PNA custody, turning the ceremony into a rare show of defiance against President Mahmoud Abbas.

The military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, is listed as a terrorist organization by Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Norway was the first Western country to recognize the 2007 Palestinian government consisting of both Hamas and Fatah, and Norwegian officials have met with Hamas representatives on several occasions. "We know that the USA and the EU have legal obligations since they have Hamas on their terrorist list. We must be able to take an independent decision about contact," Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre responded to a 2006 United States' attempt to dissuade Norwegian contact with Hamas.

Jordan banned Hamas in 1999.

In a 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Survey, 62% of Palestinians had a favorable opinion of Hamas, as do majorities or pluralities in Jordan and Morocco. Opinions of Hamas are divided in Egypt and Kuwait, and Hamas is viewed negatively in Turkey and Lebanon.

In February 2008 a Haaretz poll indicated that 64% of Israelis favour their government holding direct talks with Hamas in Gaza about a cease-fire and the release of captives.

In 2004, a federal court in the United States found Hamas liable in a civil lawsuit for the 1996 murders of Yaron and Efrat Ungar near Bet Shemesh, Israel. Hamas has been ordered to pay the families of the Ungars $116 million. On 5 July 2004, the court issued a default judgment against the PNA and the PLO regarding the Ungars' claim that the Palestinian Authority and the PLO provide safe haven to Hamas.

On August 20, 2004, three Palestinians, one a naturalized American citizen, were charged with a "lengthy racketeering conspiracy to provide money for terrorist acts in Israel." The indicted include Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, senior member of Hamas, believed to be currently in Damascus, Syria and considered a fugitive by the U.S..

On February 1, 2007, two men were acquitted of contravening US law by supporting Hamas. Both men argued that they helped move money for Palestinian causes aimed at helping the Palestinian people and not to promote terrorism.

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Hamas of Iraq

Hamas Iraq Logo

Hamas Iraq (Arabic حماس العراق) is a Sunni militia group based in Iraq, which broke off from the 1920 Revolution Brigade on March 18, 2007. The group has claimed to have released videos of its attack on US troops. The 1920 Revolution Brigade insists that Hamas Iraq was involved in assisting US troops in their recent Diyala operations against Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has feared the US-armed 'concerned local citizens' are an armed Sunni opposition in the making, and has argued that such groups should be under the command of the Iraqi Army or police. On October 11, 2007 the militia group joined a political council that embraced armed resistance against American occupation.

Hamas Iraq broke off from the 1920 Revolution Brigade on March 18, 2007.

The 1920 Revolution Brigades insists that Hamas Iraq was involved in assisting US troops in their recent Diyala operations against al-Qaeda in Iraq in August 2007.

The insistences comes after The Washington Post reported that, per telephone interview with Lt. Col. Joseph Davidson, executive officer of the 2nd Infantry Division, U.S. forces were now "partnering with Sunni insurgents from the 1920 Revolution Brigades, which includes former members of ousted president Saddam Hussein's disbanded army." The 1920 Revolution Brigades replied that: “We say to … the occupation and to your followers and agents that you made a very big lie” in linking us with the Diyala anti-al Qaida campaign. The group maintains that the organization to which the US military spokesman referred should have been the "Iraqi Hamas" organization, which consisted of members who left the Brigades before the Diyala operations.

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Hamas Arc

Hamas Arc is a studio album by Muslimgauze. It was originally released in 1993 and was repressed in 1999 and again in 2003. Included with the CD was an insert that could, along with a blank digital audio tape (DAT) and six international reply coupons (IRC), be redeemed for a copy of the DAT-only release Satyajit Eye.

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List of Hamas suicide attacks

The criteria used for this list: deliberate attacks committed by Hamas against civilians using suicide bombers.

In 2005, Israeli security forces foiled and arrested 29 Hamas suicide-bombers.

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Source : Wikipedia