“Hamas” is an Arabic acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement”. It was founded in 1988 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, dedicated to waging war against Israel.
Hamas rejects Israel’s right to exist and has never repudiated its Covenant, which includes the following tenets:
- A belief that the entire region is a sacred Islamic trust, and thus Israel (a non-Muslim state) must be destroyed: “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [trust] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that.” (Article 11)
- Opposition to all peace talks, and a commitment to holy war: “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.” (Article 13)
- An explicit hope for the killing of Jews: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” (Article 7)
- A belief in antisemitic conspiracy theories: “The Zionist invasion is a vicious invasion. It does not refrain from resorting to all methods, using all evil and contemptible ways to achieve its end. It relies greatly in its infiltration and espionage operations on the secret organizations it gave rise to, such as the Freemasons, The Rotary and Lions clubs, and other sabotage groups. All these organizations, whether secret or open, work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions. They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam. It is behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion.” (Article 28)
Hamas was listed as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code in 2002 for its role in perpetrating countless terrorist attacks (e.g., suicide bombings, bus bombings, etc.,) against Israeli civilians.
In 2006, Hamas won a majority of seats in Palestinian Authority elections, leading Canada and others in the international community to divert aid funding that benefited the PA directly to NGOs and targeted projects in the Palestinian territories.
In 2007, Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in a violent coup against Fatah, and has since blocked elections and imposed an increasingly restrictive form of Islam on the people of Gaza (including a stricter code of social interaction for women).
In 2011, Hamas publicly claimed responsibility for murdering 1,365 Israelis since the organization’s inception. That same year, Hamas issued a statement mourning the death of Osama bin Laden, referring to the former Al-Qaeda leader as a “holy Arab warrior”.