The Islamic Resistance Movement from a Palestinian Point-of-View
Hamas is an acronym that stands for the Islamic Resistance Movement, a popular
national resistance movement which is working to create conditions conducive to
emancipating the Palestinian people, delivering them from tyranny, liberating their land
from the occupying usurper, and to stand up to the Zionist scheme which is supported by
Hamas is a Jihadi (fighting for a holy purpose) movement in the broad sense of the word
Jihad. It is part of the Islamic awakening movement and upholds that this awakening is the
road which will lead to the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea. It is also
a popular movement in the sense that it is a practical manifestation of a wide popular
current that is deeply rooted in the ranks of the Palestinian people and the Islamic
nation. It is a current which sees in the Islamic faith and doctrines a firm base in which
to work against an enemy which endorses religious ideologies and plots which counter act
all plans to lift up the Palestinian nation. The Hamas movement groups in its ranks all
those who believe in its ideology and principles and all who are prepared to endure the
consequences of the conflict and to confront the Zionist scheme.
The Movement's emblem
The movement's emblem consists of a picture of the mosque of the Dome of the Rock. At
the top of the emblem is a small map of Palestine and surrounding it are two Palestinian
flags in a semicircular shape which appear as if they were embracing the Dome. The right
flag bears the phrase, "There is no god but Allah," and the left flag bears the
phrase, "Mohammed is the messenger of Allah." Under the Dome are two swords
which cross one another at the dome's base and drift apart forming a lower frame for the
Dome. "Palestine" is written under the picture and below it is a strip with the
phrase, "Islamic Resistance Movement-Hamas."
The picture of the mosque together with the phrases "There is no god but
Allah," and "Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah," symbolize the Islamic
character of the cause and its ideological essence. The map is indicative of Hamas'
attitude that the conflict aims to restore (from the occupiers) the entire Palestine with
its Mandate borders and that Hamas rejects the issue to be limited to the lands occupied
The two swords symbolize the images of might and nobility that have always dwelled in
the Arab mind. In its fight against an enemy who pays no heed to any human values, Hamas
adheres to the values of nobility and honor and targets its might against its actual
enemy, relentlessly and without deviation.
Evolution and development
The Islamic Resistance Movement-Hamas, issued its initiating statement on December 15,
1987. However, the movement's evolution goes back to the 1940s, as it is an extension of
the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Before announcing their movement, Muslim Brothers used
other names to express their political attitudes towards the Palestinian Question. These
included Al Morabitour (those firmly stationed) on the Land of Isra' (the Nocturnal
journey), the "Islamic Struggle Movement," and other names.
First: Causes Of Evolution:
The Islamic Resistance Movement-Hamas-emerged as a result of interaction between a
number of elements the Palestinian people have endured since the catastrophe of 1948 in
general and the 1967 setback in particular. These emanate from two main factors: the
political development of the Palestinian Question and what had become of it by the end of
1967, and the development of the Islamic Awakening in Palestine and the level it reached
in the mid 80s.
a. The Political Developments of the Palestine Question
In the course of time, the Palestinian people could see that their cause, which they
consider a matter of life and death and an encounter of the cultural conflict between the
Arabs and Muslims on one side and the Zionists on the other, was being reduced to a
problem of refugees after the catastrophe, and to a problem of removing the traces of
aggression and giving up two thirds of Palestine after the defeat of 1967. This prompted
the Palestinians to take their cause into their own hands which led to the
inception of the PLO and the popular resistance factions.
However, the program of the Palestine revolution, which developed and crystallized
inside the PLO, saw a number of internal and external setbacks which weakened it and made
its vision confusing. The 70s had seen a number of indications that there would be the
likelihood the PLO would accept a compromise at the expense of the inalienable rights of
our people and nation and in contradiction of the provisions of the Palestinian National
Charter. These indicators developed to become obvious Palestinian propositions which
increased after the conclusion of the Camp David Accords and the Zionist invasion of south
Lebanon and the subsequent siege of Beirut in 1982.
The siege was the biggest humiliation the Arab nation had suffered after the 1967 war
despite the historic steadfastness of the Palestinian resistance in the city, for an Arab
capital was besieged for a period of three months without any significant Arab reaction.
This weakened the PLO and led to its exodus from Lebanon, which strengthened trends inside
the PLO that called for a settlement with the enemy.
The propositions for the settlement included the following concessions which, up to
then, had been fundamental issues in the conflict with Zionism.
1. Recognizing the Zionist entity and its right to exist on the land of Palestine.
2. Giving up to the Zionists, part, or rather the greater part, of Palestine.
Under these circumstances which satisfied PLO leaders, the strategy of armed struggle
receded and Arab and international interest in the Palestine Question waned. Most of the
Arab states were consciously or unconsciously pursuing country-centered policies where
singleness of purpose was predominant. This was noticeable after the Arab League made a
decision in 1974 recognizing the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the
After the eruption of the Iraqi-Irani War, the Palestine Question became a marginal
issue on Arab and international levels. On the other hand, Zionism was adopting a harder
line with the support of the United States with which it concluded a strategic cooperation
treaty in 1981, the same year which saw the annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights and the
destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor.
While the Arab countries continued to cherish the illusion of attaching their hopes to
the successive US administrations, Zionist extremism was growing more fervent as right
wing parties dominated the entity's administration and policy. The policy of deterrence
embraced by the Zionist entity for decades, was undisputed. Therefore, the Zionists
arrogantly carried out the Hammam Al-Shat operation in Tunisia in October 1985 when it
bombarded the PLO Headquarters there. These acts were met with full support from the US
administration, the same administration that was the object of Arab hopes for achieving
the ambitions of the various Arab summits.
On the international level, the USA had made great strides, leaving the Soviet Union a
long distance behind, by imposing its authority and hegemony on the region as well as on
the whole world The mounting problems inside the Soviet Union required it to lend its
attention to the local scene with the result that it gradually withdrew from regional
conflicts and cleared the international scene for the Americans. The Soviet role in the
region came to an end in a way that was not expected by the Arab governments and most of
the Palestinian factions whose political position was severely damaged consequently.
b. The Islamic Awakening Axis
Palestine, like the other Arab countries, witnessed a remarkable Islamic awakening that
led to the development and growth of the Islamic movement, in organizational and
ideological terms, in the part of Palestine occupied in 1948 as well as in the Palestinian
communities in the Diaspora.
The Islamic current in Palestine became aware that it was facing a tremendous challenge
which was due to two main causes:
First-The decline of the Palestinian cause which plunged the bottom of the list of
priorities for Arab countries.
Second-The retreat of the Palestinian Revolution's program to confront Zionist
ambitions and its effects on the position of having to live with those ambitions and of
limiting the conflict to the conditions of this co-existence.
Under these two retreats, and with the accumulation of the negative impact of the
repressive and tyrannical policies of the Zionist occupation, and with the idea of
resistance ripening among the Palestinian people inside and outside Palestine, there had
to be a "Jihadi" Islamic Palestinian project whose features began to appear in
the "Jihad Family" in 1981 and in the league of Shaikh Ahmad Yassin in 1983 as
well as in other groups.
By the end of 1987, conditions had become ripe enough for the rise of a new faction
that would confront Zionism as well as external transformations. Hence, the Islamic
Resistance Movement-Hamas, emerged in response to the dilemma of the Palestinian people
and what they and their just cause had gone through since the Zionist occupation of
Palestinian land in 1967.
The consciousness of the Palestinian people in general and the Palestinian Islamic
trend in particular contributed to crystallizing the Islamic Resistance Movement whose
features began taking shape in the 80s. In that period, wings (extensions) were formed for
the resistance apparatus and popular ground was consolidated to set the scene for
launching the principles of the popular confrontation against the Zionist occupation. The
students' confrontation with the occupation authorities in Najah and
Beir Zeit universities in the West Bank and in the Islamic University in Gaza contributed
to creating conditions conducive for the Palestinian masses to indulge in resisting the
occupation under the cumulative impact of the unfair policies, repressive measures and
The aggressive incident committed by a Zionist truck driver on December 6, 1987,
against a car carrying Arab workers which resulted in the death of four Palestinian
martyrs in Jabalia Camp of the Palestine Refugees ushered in a new era of our Palestinian
people's Jihad. In retaliation, a state of general alarm was declared. The first statement
of the Islamic Resistance
Movement was issued on December 15, 1987, marking a new phase in the Jihad of the
Palestinians against the tyrant Zionist occupation, a phase where the Islamic trend was
the spearhead of resistance.
The rise of Hamas caused great concern to the enemy; so it mobilized its intelligence
instruments to keep an eye on the movement and its leaders. As soon as the enemy realized
that the masses were very much responsive to the strikes and other activities of the
resistance called for by the movement, and upon the issuance of the movement's charter,
the enemy started a wide campaign of arrests targeting the movement's cadres and
followers. The biggest such campaign was launched in May 1989 in which the founding
leader, Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, was arrested.
With the development of the movement's methods of resistance which included capturing
Zionist soldiers in the winter of 1989, and with the movement's resorting to their war of
cold steel against the occupation troops in 1990, a large campaign of arrests was launched
against the movement in December 1990 and the occupation authorities deported some of the
movement's activists and leaders. It also decreed that the movement and membership was a
crime and those caught with affiliations with the movement would receive severe
The movement entered a new phase with the establishment of its military wing, the
Regiments of Martyrs Izzudin Al Qassam, in late 1991. The wing's activities against the
Zionist soldiers and settlers steadily increased and in December 1992, the movement's
fighters carried out the operation of capturing the soldier Nassim Tolidano after which
the Zionist authorities launched a hectic campaign of arrests against the movement's
cadres and followers. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ishaq Rabin ordered the deportation of
415 activists of our people, which was a precedent for mass deportation. Hamas and Islamic
Jihad deportees set a typical example as fighters who held strongly to their land no
matter how heavy the cost was. Therefore, Rabin eventually agreed to their return after
they spent one year in the open in the temporary camp of Marj el-Sahour in south Lebanon.
The deportations did not stop the operation launched by Hamas and its military wing.
The year of 1993 witnessed a remarkable rise in the confrontations between our Palestinian
masses and the Zionist occupation soldiers, coupled with a paralleled increase in military
attacks against the occupation soldiers and settlers.
As popular resistance grew stronger, the enemy clamped a closure down on the West Bank
and Gaza in an attempt to curb acts of resistance.
In February of 1994, a Jewish terrorist settler called Barraugh Goldstein, committed a
crime against Palestinians who were praying in Al Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron when 30
Palestinians fell martyrs and 100 others were wounded.
The size of the crime and its repercussions prompted Hamas to declare an all-out war
against the Zionist occupation and to broaden the scope of its operations to include every
Israeli settler on the Arab land of Palestine with the objective of halting the crimes
against unarmed Palestinian civilians.
Today, Hamas stands at the front of the forces which are working against Zionist goals.
Despite the comprehensive campaign targeting it, Hamas remains the major force which keeps
the Palestinian cause alive and which makes the Palestinian people, the children of the
Arab and Islamic nation and the free people all over the world feel confident that there
is a possibility to stand up against Zionism which has been going through its golden era
since the beginning of the 90s and to give them hope that it could be defeated and
destroyed by God's will.
The conflict with Zionism in
The Hamas movement believes that the conflict with the Zionists in Palestine is a
conflict of survival. It is a conflict of civilization and determination that can not be
brought to an end unless its cause-the Zionist settlement in Palestine, usurpation of its
land, and the displacement of its people-is removed.
Hamas sees in the Hebraic state an antagonistic totalitarian regime, not just an entity
with territorial ambitions, a regime that complements the forces of modern colonialism
which aim to take hold of the nation's riches and resources and to prevent the rise of any
grouping that works to unify the nation's ranks. It seeks to achieve this objective by
promoting provincialism, alienating the nation from its cultural roots and clamping down
on its economic, political, military and even intellectual hegemony.
The Hebraic state forms an instrument that breaks the geographic continuity of the
central Arab countries, and it is a device to deplete the nation's resources. It is also a
spearhead which is ready to strike at any project that aims to raise the nation up.
The main confrontations with the Zionist entity is taking place in Palestine where the
enemy has established its base and stronghold. But the threats and challenges posed by the
Zionists run deeper and so threaten all Islamic countries. Hamas believes that the Zionist
entity, since its inception, has constituted a threat to the Arab countries and also in
their strategic depth, the Islamic countries. The 90s witnessed huge transformations that
highlighted this danger which knows no limits.
Hamas believes that the best way to handle the conflict with the Zionist enemy is to
mobilize the potentialities of the Palestinian people in the struggle against the Zionist
presence in Palestine and to keep the firebrand burning until the time when the conditions
to win the battle have been realized, and wait until all the potentialities and resources
of the Arab and Islamic nation are mobilized under a common political will and purpose.
Until that happens and there is belief in the sanctity of the
Palestinian cause and its Islamic importance and an awareness of the ultimate goals and
dangers of the Zionist project in Palestine, Hamas believes that no part of Palestine
should be compromised, that the Zionist occupation of Palestine should not be recognized
and that it is imperative for the people of Palestine, as well as all Arabs and Muslims,
to prepare themselves to fight the Zionists until they leave Palestine the way they
migrated to it.
Military action in Hamas program
The Hebraic state represents an entity which is antagonistic to all aims of Arab and
Islamic awakening. for it is known that had it not been for the state of deterioration and
decadence through which the nation was passing, the Zionists would not have realized their
dream of establishing their state in Palestine.
Recognizing this fact, the Zionists work against any program which they think would add
to the Arab and Islamic capabilities. They believe that any attempts aiming at achieving
an Arab and Islamic awakening constitute a strategic threat to Israel. The Zionists also
believe that if Arab power was unified under a comprehensive program of awakening, it
would pose a major threat to the Hebraic state. This conviction has prompted the Zionist
leaders to transform their state from an alien entity in the Arab and Islamic surrounding
to become part of it under the influence of economy. This explains why they support the
(peace) settlement and promote projects with an economic orientation. It is within this
context that the military action in the Hamas program should be viewed. Military action is
the movement's strategic instrument for combating the Zionist element. In the absence of a
comprehensive Arab and Islamic plan for liberation, military action will remain the only
guarantee that would keep the conflict going and that would make it difficult for the
enemy to expand outside Palestine.
In its strategic dimension, military action is the Palestinian people's main instrument
to keep the firelog burning in Palestine and to counter Israeli schemes which aim at
transferring the center of tension to other ports in the Arab and Islamic world.
Military action, moreover, is an instrument to defer the Zionists and to prevent them
from threatening the security of the Palestinians. This was evident in the series of
heroic attacks carried out by the movement in retaliation to the crime committed by the
terrorist Baraugh Goldstein against the Palestinians who were praying in Al Ibrahimi
Pursuing this approach and enforcing it up would weigh heavily on the Zionists to force
them to step up their practices against the interests of our people in the West Bank and
Hamas believes that Israel's integration into the Arab and Islamic region would hamper
every plan that seeks to uplift the nation.
Israel, which is backed by the US and its technology, aims to take advantage of the
weakness of its adversaries in order to achieve a settlement, a plan which, in its
essence, aims at linking the Arab economies to a new cluster with Israel at its center.
Hamas resistance against the occupation is not directed against the Jews as followers
of a religion, but rather against the occupation, its existence and oppressive practices.
This resistance is not associated with the peace process in the region as alleged by the
Hebraic state and the supporters of the current settlement. The resistance was there
before the convening of the Madrid Conference; and the movement has no hostilities or
battles with any international party, nor does it target the interests of the properties
of the various countries. This is because it considers that the scene of its battle
against the Zionist occupation is limited to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. When
the Zionist officials threatened to transfer the battle with Hamas to areas outside the
Occupied Territories, Hamas warned the Zionist authorities against the serious dangers of
such a step. This testifies to the fact that Hamas does not wish to enlarge the circle of
In resisting the occupation, Hamas directs its action against military targets and does
its best to ensure that its resistance would not cause losses among civilians. It is true
that in some cases resistance carried out by the movement resulted in some civilian
losses, but these losses were in self-defense and came in retaliation to the massacres
committed against innocent Palestinian civilians as was the case with the Ibrahimi Mosque
massacre in Hebron when Palestinians were shot dead at the hands of
settlers and the soldiers of the occupation. Anxious to see no civilians on either side
fall victim to the conflict, Hamas took several initiatives proposing that both sides stop
targeting civilians and that they be excluded from the scope of conflict. However, the
Zionists rejected these initiatives and by doing so they showed their terrorist nature and
their indifference to saving innocent Palestinians from bloodshed.
In its activities of resistance, Hamas is keen on adhering to the noble teachings of
Islam, human rights and international law. It carries out its lawful resistance not for
the sake of murder and bloodshed as is the case with the Zionists.
Hamas' position regarding the
Hamas has repeatedly affirmed it is not against the principle of peace. It is for it
and is seeking to achieve it. It agrees with all countries that peace should prevail over
the whole world. However, only just peace will restore to the Palestinians their rights
and enable them to exercise their rights for independence and self-determination. The
movement holds that the accords that have been concluded fall short of meeting the
aspirations and minimum goals of the Palestinian people. These are unfair agreements which
cause harm to our people. They reward the aggressors for their aggression and acknowledge
to them the right to acquire what they have wrongfully taken from others. It is a
situation where the conditions are dictated by the triumphant and the tyrannized are
required to give up their rights. An unjust peace of the nature does not hold for long.
The very essence of any political settlement, irrespective of its origin or content,
entails recognition of the Zionist enemy's right to exist on most parts of Palestine,
which deprives millions of Palestinians the right to return, to determine their future and
build their independent state on the whole of Palestinian land. This is indeed
contradictory to human and international values and traditions, and is also forbidden
under the Islamic jurisprudence. This should not be allowed to happen because the land of
Palestine is a blessed Islamic land that has been usurped by the Zionists; and Jihad has
become a duty for Muslims to restore it and expeltheir occupiers out of their land.
In view of the above, the movement has rejected Shulz's and Baker's plan, the 10 points
of Mubarak, Shamir's plan and the Madrid-Washington process. Hamas believes that the most
dangerous of all settlement projects are "Gaza-Jericho First" that was concluded
in Washington on September 13, 1993, between the Zionist entity and the PLO leadership;
the mutual recognition document' and the agreements of Taba, Cairo and the likes. What is
disastrous about these agreements is that they do not only recognize the Zionist
sovereignty over all of Palestine, normalize Arab-Zionist relations and give the Zionists
a free hand over the whole region, but are also endorsed by a Palestinian side even though
this side does not represent the Palestinians in actual terms. All of this means closing
the Palestinian case and depriving the Palestinian people from claiming their rights or
from using legitimate means to restore them. It also consolidates the basis for depriving
the majority of Palestinians to live on their land, to say nothing about the consequences
that all of this may reflect on the Arab and Islamic people.
In view of the dangers posed by the settlement currently in process, the movement
adopted a position based on the following points:
1. Promoting the awareness of the Palestinian people concerning the perils of the
settlement and the accords resulting from it.
2. Working to group in one bloc all Palestinian forces opposed to the settlement and its
accords and to promote their principles to the Palestinian, Arab and international arenas.
3. Urging the PLO leadership to withdraw from the negotiations with the Zionist entity and
from the Gaza-Jericho deal which threatens the existence of our people in Palestine and
the Diaspora now and in the future.
4. Making contacts with the Arab and Islamic countries with the intent to ask them to
withdraw from the negotiations, not to respond to the conspiracy of normalizing the
relations with the Zionist entity, and to lend us their support in confronting the Zionist
enemy and its plans.
Hamas' position towards the
1. Hamas maintains that the field of the Palestinian national action is wide enough to
accommodate all visions and orientations opposed to the Zionist plot. It believes that the
unification of the national Palestinian action is the objective that all forces, factions
and detachments should aim to realize.
2. Hamas seeks to coordinate and cooperate with all operating forces and factions out
of its belief that common denominators and points of agreement should prevail over points
3. Hamas seeks to reinforce the joint national action, and believes that the framework
for such an action should rest on a commitment to work for the liberation of Palestine and
to refuse to recognize the Zionist enemy or to give it the right to exist on any part of
4. Hamas holds that no matter how far apart the point of view may be in the arena of
patriotic action, no party should resort to violence or arms to settle differences or to
dictate opinions and persuasions inside the Palestinian camp.
5. Hamas undertakes advocacy for the cause of the Palestinian people without
discrimination between religious, ethnic groups or sects. It believes in the right of all
groups and sects of the Palestinians to defend their territories and defend their
homeland. It also believes that the Palestinians are one people, whether Muslim or
Hamas' position towards
the Self-Rule Authority
Hamas believes that the "Self-rule Authority" is an outcome of the agreements
of the co-existence with the Zionist enemy. It holds that the Zionists have agreed to the
establishment of this authority to achieve a number of short and long-term objectives.
The Authority, which is supported by 30,000 armed men forming a police force that holds
different titles, is committed to implementing the obligations provided for in the
agreements. At the top of these obligations is to confront resistance operations and to
strike the resistance factions under the pretext of protecting the settlement process and
the Authority's agreement with Israel.
Being hostage to the Oslo Agreements, the Authority serves as a legal cover for the
occupation and its practices. Merely by the way of an example, when the Authority approved
the opening of by-passes for the settlers, it gave the Zionist settlements a legal status.
Hamas maintains that the Zionists have avoided confronting the movement and its Jihadi
program by hiding behind the Self-Rule Authority. The movement is also aware that if it
entered into a military confrontation with the Self-Rule Authority, it would achieve one
of the Zionist's greatest objectives and ambitions. Out of this awareness, Hamas did not
allow itself to be dragged into a dispute with the Authority despite the Authority's
repressive practices and its human rights violations in the Self-Rule areas, which
included the assassination of Mujahideen, opening fire on citizens while praying, rounding
up hundreds of Palestinians on the charges of supporting the resistance factions and
torturing prisoners to death.
Hamas considers the Oslo Accords as an alluding formula for liquidating the Palestinian
cause and for protecting the Zionists at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian
people. It remains opposed to these accords and seeks to abort them by means of the
popular resistance without resorting to violence against the Authority and its symbols.
The movement is confident that the Authority and its political project are doomed to
fail under the impact of the security aspect of the Oslo Accords.
1. Hamas believes that the difference in opinions over developments does not prevent it
from contacting and cooperating with amiable parties that are prepared to support the
steadfastness of the Palestinian people.
2. Hamas is not interested in the internal affairs of countries and does not interfere
in any government's domestic affairs.
3. Hamas seeks to encourage Arab and Islamic countries to resolve their differences and
to unify their attitudes towards national issues. However, it does not side with one party
against the other, nor does it accept joining one political axis against another.
4. Hamas believes in Arab and Islamic unity and blesses any effort made in this
5. Hamas asks all Arab and Islamic governments and parties to assume their
responsibilities to endorse the cause of our people and support its steadfastness against
the Zionist occupation and to facilitate the work of our movement towards achieving its
6. Hamas believes in the importance of dialogue with all governments and world parties
and forces irrespective of faith, race or political orientation. It remains ready to
cooperate with any side for the sake of the just cause of our people and for informing the
public about the inhuman practices of the Zionist occupation against the Palestine people.
7. Hamas does not seek enmity with anyone on the basis of religious convictions or
race. It does not antagonize any country or organization unless they stand against our
people or support the aggressive practices of the Zionist occupation against our people.
8. Hamas is keen on limiting the theater of confrontation with the Zionist occupation
to Palestine, and not to transfer it to any arena outside Palestine.
9. Hamas expects the world's countries, organizations and liberty movements to stand by
the just cause of our people; to denounce the repressive practices of the occupation
authorities which violate international law and human rights; and to create a public
opinion pressurizing the Zionist entity to end its occupation of our land and holy
Hamas' position towards other
As a resistance movement that confronts the occupation and Israeli racism, Hamas
sympathizes with the world's liberation causes and supports the legitimate aspirations of
people that struggle to get rid of occupation and the policy of racial discrimination.
Hamas stood with the South African people in their struggle against apartheid and welcomed
the change that put an end to the apartheid policy that was prevailing there.
Sources: Palestine Information Center