Foundation and development of Hamas
Hamas (the acronym of Harakat Al-Muqaawamah Al-Islamiyyah (The Islamic Resistance Movement), in Palestine is an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood (full title: Society of Muslim Brothers, MB) in Egypt, founded by Hasan Al-Banna in 1924 C.E., and its roots extend to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and the Palestinian territories that were occupied in 1948 C.E.
The Islamic awakening in Palestine, as in the other Arab countries, started growing and spreading at a remarkable rate, which gave rise to the development in organization and ideology of the Islamic movement in Palestine that was occupied in 1948 C.E., and among the Palestinian communities in the Diaspora. The Islamic stream in Palestine came to face a great challenge due to two reasons:
First-The decline of the Palestinian cause which fell to the bottom of the list of priorities in Arab countries.
Second-The retreat of the Palestinian Revolution program from confronting Zionist ambitions and its effects to 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 suppressive and tyrannical policies of the Zionist occupation, and with the idea of resistance ripening among the Palestinian people within and outside Palestine, there had to be a "Jihaadi" Islamic Palestinian project whose features began to appear in the "Jihaad Family" in 1981 C.E. and in the league of Shaykh Ahmad Yassin in 1983 C. E. as well as in other groups.
By the end of 1987 C.E., conditions had become ripe enough for the rise of a new project that would confront the Zionist project and its extensions, and that would be based on new principles that were in harmony with the internal and external transformations. Hence, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, emerged as the practical expression of the interaction of these factors. Hamas came as a natural response to the dilemma of the Palestinian people and what they and their just cause had gone through since the further Zionist occupation of Palestinian land in 1967 C.E.
The consciousness of the Palestinian people in general and the Palestinian Islamic trend in particular contributed to crystallizing the Islamic Resistance Movement whose features started to take shape in the nineteen eighties. 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 since 1986 C.E.
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 resist the occupation under the cumulative impact of its unfair policies, suppressive measures and inhuman practices.
Hamas in the media scene
Hamas emerged in the media scene since the early beginnings of the first Intifada in 1987 C.E., namely, with the appearance of its first statement issued on December 14,1987 C.E. The decision behind the Intifada that began in December 1987 C.E. was taken by Shaykh Ahmad Yassin, who was among its supporters . This decision was taken on December 9, 1987 C.E, i.e. on the first day of the Intifada, which went on afterwards under Islamic directions, and developed, on one of its sides, to realize military achievements for Hamas, i.e. the organized Islamic Resistance Movement, declared by the Shaykh on December 9, 1987 C.E., according to the announcement of its first handout issued on December 14, 1987 C.E.
Taking the decision of the Intifada
On the night of December 9, 1987 C.E., which is the night that followed the terrible incident on the road to the industrial region of Erez, the checkpoint between Gaza Strip and what is called the Green Line -- where an Israeli truck driver crushed a car carrying Palestinian laborers on their way to work inside the Green Line, leaving four dead – Shaykh Ahmad Yassin met with some of his brothers, including Dr. Abdel Aziz Al-Rantissi, Salah Shahada, and others, and took the decision of the Intifada in that meeting.
It is clear that the organizations which were founded before and after the outburst of the Intifada, like the Jihad and Da’wah Organization, and the Organization of Palestinian Militants (Palestinian Mujahidun), were merged in the new movement which undertook the Intifada activities, and carried the name of Majd, the acronym of the Jihad and Da’wah organization, which was the security wing, and the organization of Palestinian Militants, the military wing.
In the report presented by a well-versed Israeli expert, who had a Master’s Degree in the history of the Middle East, and worked for eight years in the service of the public security, the following was written about Hamas:
Hamas is the acronym of Harakat Al-Muqaawamah Al-Islamiyyah (the Islamic Resistance Movement). Hamas also means courage and valor. The organization started its activities with the beginning of the Intifada, esp. in Gaza Strip, wherefrom it extended to the West Bank. Hamas attributes the outburst of the Intifada to itself, on the basis of the inseparability of both events, the outburst of the Intifada and the birth of the organization. It is proud that it was its first handout issued on 14-12-1987 which ignited the torch of Intifada, and announced its continuance. The movement did many regular acts which proved its capability as an Islamic movement holding on to the land. Its insistence on radical situations led to many (destructive) activities; thereby the movement became more widely accepted by the people.
The Israeli expert adds: Hamas carries out more operations in order to utilize radical Islamic elements, and presents the conflict with Israel as being based on Islam.
He says: The ideology of Hamas is principally based on the thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood, viewing the Islamic Jihaad (holy war) as the only way to liberate Palestine, and that it is due on every religious personality, as well as on every Muslim. It strips of legitimacy any political regime that accepts to give up any part of Palestine, since it means, from their point of view, giving up a part of the Islamic religion.
The aim of Hamas
The central aim of Hamas, as he says, is to establish a Palestinian state on the whole area of Palestinian territories, through Jihaad in which all the Muslims should participate.
During investigations in Israeli prisons, some members of Hamas confessed that the individuals of the Organization of Palestinian militants (Mujahidun), the movement’s military wing, and the Jihaad and Da’wah organization, Majd, its security wing, started their activities since 1985, by carrying out a large number of military operations, stabbing Israeli soldiers and officers, throwing grenades on military patrols and the enemy camps, killing a number of agents and people collaborating with the Jews, planting explosive devices, and burning thousands of dunems of crops belonging to the enemy.
Hamas’s first statement mentioned that the Intifada came for the sake of the honor and dignity of the Palestinian people “and for the restoration of our right in our homeland, and raising the banner of Allah on earth.” The statement confirmed that “The Intifada of our people who remain stationed in the occupied territory erupted to reject the oppressive policy of the Zionists, and to awaken the conscience of those standing behind side reconciliations similar to Camp David, perchance they would be certain that Islam is the only solution and alternative, and that all their attempts to merge and exterminate our Palestinian people would be destroyed.”
In its foundation, Hamas relied on creedal concepts taken from the Noble Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah. Its premise is the thinking of the MB, considering itself one of its wings.
According to article one of Hamas’ charter: “The Islamic Resistance Movement draws its guidelines from Islam; derives from it its thinking, interpretations and views about existence, life and humanity; refers back to it for its conduct; and is inspired by it in whatever step it takes.” Hamas is a Palestinian Movement and it welcomes all Palestinian Muslims who share its beliefs and ideology. Its central aim is to liberate all Palestinian land from the sea to the river, and establish an Islamic state. It is of the view that the conflict with the Jews is an existence-based rather than a border-based conflict.
According to (the charter of) Hamas,
Hamas is one of the links in the chain of Jihad in the confrontation with the Zionist invasion. It is attached to the initiative of the Martyr Ezzeddin al-Qassam and his Mujaahid brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood who fought the Holy War in 1936 C.E.; it is further related to another link of the Palestinian Jihad and the Jihad and efforts of the Muslim Brothers during the 1948 War, and to the Jihaad operations of the Muslim Brothers in 1968 C.E. and thereafter.