Field: Politics, Palestine
Hamas: Unwritten Chapters

Azzam Tamimi

Hurst & Company, London 2007




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After more than twenty years of accumulating public support and influence, Hamas was born in the middle of what the Palestinians believe to be an endless iniquitous aggression from the Israeli side. The 7 Ikhwan leaders who founded this organization include Syeikh Ahmad Yassin and Dr Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi, whom, as the future reveals, were later to be martyrs. As a comprehensive Islamic resistance group, Hamas utilizes both political and military means to attain its objective; restoring Palestinian rights.

It was not until after long being suppressed by the Nasiri regime that the Ikhwan, the predecessor of Hamas, could breathe again. Many Arabs were convinced that nationalism is their only train to glory, a state they have lost for many centuries. However the atmosphere changes at the symbolic defeat of nationalism in the 1967 6-day-war between Israel and the Arabs. This already-pared confidence is further inflicted by the Black September of 1970 and Anwar Sadat’s friendly visit to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) 7 years later. The Islamists saw these and grabbed their chance.

With nationalist PLO at war with Israel, the Zionists didn’t in any way see the Islamists as a threat when they started their work at grassroots level. The Ikhwan continued to provide sports facilities, recreational trips, scout events, mosques, kindergartens, schools and clinics- trying to ignore the insolent assaults to their country. However, after the Sabra & Shatila massacre in 1982 the pressure mounted, and they came out with a Jihad plan; a prelude to Sheikh Yassin’s arrest two years later.

Two years after Hamas’ inception, it suffered a near-fatal blow. The leadership began to consider transferring its centre of operation outside Palestine, a task soon taken and headed by Abu Marzuq. For a few years, Jordan warmly welcomed their presence there and for the country to be used as a political base. Things changed when the Jordanian authorities was inundated with too much pressure from the US and Israel, especially after the demise of King Hussein. Hamas was later welcomed by Qatar and then Syria.

Many parties with personal motives are dying to incapacitate Hamas. This includes the Palestinian Authority whose members are mostly American-backed Fatah members. The right to governance Hamas won from the Palestinians in 2006 was undermined by these people, which culminated and made worse by the Israeli who in 29 June 2006 kidnapped 64 Hamas officials, rendering its government handicapped. In spite of it all, Hamas continues to attract more and more support from lovers of freedom and justice all around the world.

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