5 Things You Need to Know About Hamas

1. What is Hamas?

Hamas is a terrorist organization in control of Gaza. The name is an Arabic acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement.” The group’s ideology, spelled out in its Charter, is anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-Western. Hamas claims to be fighting a religious war against Israel with the aim of destroying it. In the 21 years that have passed since Israel and the PLO signed the Declaration of Principles in 1993, which was supposed to lead toward peace, Hamas has perpetrated more than 80 suicide attacks in Israel, murdering approximately 1,000 Israelis (many more planned attacks have been thwarted by Israel). Hamas has also persecuted Christians, killed journalists, shut down human rights organizations, and carried out extrajudicial executions of those who defy its rule.

2. How does the international community view Hamas?

The EU, Canada, Australia, and U.S. consider Hamas a terrorist organization. In response to the its bombardment of Israel in the summer of 2014, many international leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, have condemned the hundreds of deadly rockets fired at Israeli population centers. These rockets, which place at least half the Israeli population at risk, are provided by Iran and other sponsors of global terror. For example, in March of 2014, Israeli forces intercepted the Iranian Klos-C ship, which was carrying a shipment of weapons, including dozens of long-range rockets, destined for Gaza.

3. What is Hamas's relationship with the Palestinian Authority and how does it affect the peace process?

In the summer of 2014, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas entered into a unity governmetn with Hamas, rejecting the path of peace with Israel, and choosing instead the path of confrontation. Only a negotiated settlement with Israel – based on the principle of two states for two peoples – can enable the Palestinian people to fulfill its legitimate national aspirations. Reverting to the old ways of rejection and confrontation will only prolong the conflict and the suffering of both peoples. When Hamas resorted to form and launched hundreds of lethal rockets at Israel in the summer of 2014, the terrorist group only underscored the danger of the international community’s swift embrace of the “unity government," which has since been plagued by internal divisions.

4. How large is Hamas’s arsenal?

Today, Hamas possesses an estimated 12,000 missiles of various ranges that threaten millions of Israel citizens. Since Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas and other terrorist groups have fired approximately 9,000 rockets and 5,000 mortar bombs at Israel.  Gaza had the chance to choose whether it would seek to emulate Singapore or Somalia, and, tragically, chose the latter.

5. How is Hamas able shield its weapons supply?

Hamas has created a labyrinth beneath gaza, constructing tunnels that protect its weapons and its terror fighters. The tunnels allowed Hamas to infiltrate Israel to launch suprise attacks in 2014.

Date: 7/12/2014