Israel suspended peace talks with the Palestinians yesterday in the wake of a unity deal between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terror organization that currently rules the Gaza Strip. We offer the following reminders as to the nature of the latter group.
1. Hamas Is an Internationally Recognized Terror Organization.
Hamas was one of the State Department’s first Designated Foreign Terror Organizations. It is also listed as a terror organization by Canada, the European Union, Japan, and, of course, Israel.
2. Hamas Was One of the First Two Organized Islamist Terror Groups.
Hamas and Hezbollah – the first a Sunni Palestinian Islamist organization; the latter a Shiite Lebanese one – were founded in the 1980’s. They were the first major organized Islamist terror groups founded in the wake of the 1979 Iranian revolution. (Hezbollah was founded as an extension of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.)
According to Hamas’s founding charter, it is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine. Moslem Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times. It is characterised by its deep understanding, accurate comprehension and its complete embrace of all Islamic concepts of all aspects of life, culture, creed, politics, economics, education, society, justice and judgement, the spreading of Islam, education, art, information, science of the occult and conversion to Islam.
In many ways these two movements became the models for global jihadist terror groups like Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, Lashkar e-Taeba, Islamic Jihad, and the Taliban.
3. Hamas’ Biggest State Sponsor Over the Years has Been Iran.
Though Hamas is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist organization, and though in different periods it also received help from Saudi Arabia, it has received a large chunk of its funding since its founding from Iran. Iran’s support for Hamas was reported in the early 1990’s. Though Iran reportedly resumed relations with Hamas in late 2013, in recent years it had significantly reduced its funding Hamas because of the terrorist organization’s support for the Syrian rebels against the Iranian backed regime of Bashar al-Assad. Turkey reportedly stepped into the breach and started funding Hamas in Iran’s absence.
4. To Get Rid of Fatah in Gaza, Hamas Tossed Handcuffed Prisoners Out of Buildings.
Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006. After consolidating its power in Gaza, in June 2007, Hamas violently expelled Fatah from Gaza. The violence included “executions, kneecappings and even tossing handcuffed prisoners off tall apartment towers.” In January 2009, following Operation Cast Lead, Hamas again killed and attacked scores of Fatah members still residing in Gaza.
5. Hamas Continues to Be Committed to Destroying Israel.
In the eight years since he was elected Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh has regularly promised to destroy Israel. In 2010, for example, he said:
Palestine is from the sea to the river, from Rosh HaNikra to Rafah. The siege will not change our belief, wars don’t cause people give up resistance and resistance leaders. We will not recognize! We will not recognize! We will not recognize Israel!
(In November 2013, Haniyeh’s critically ill granddaughter was treated in an Israeli hospital.)
Just last week, Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar “denied that Hamas has given up its resistance” (i.e., terrorism) and said “it is necessary to adopt a program of resistance in all its tools to expel Zionist occupation.”
6. Hamas Mastered the Art of Suicide Bombers a Decade Before 9/11.
Hamas has developed a system of indoctrination starting with the youth. Hamas’s school system teach martyrdom as a goal for children. What’s taught in schools is reinforced by military training of children and even children’s entertainment. Those chosen to perpetrate terror attacks are given special training to dedicate themselves to destruction even at the cost of their own lives.
This indoctrination made Hamas’s revolutionary use of suicide bombing possible.
In April 1994, Hamas escalated its post Oslo terror killing eight people in Afula with a car bomb and five in Hadera with a suicide bomber. In early 1996, at least 69 Israelis were killed in four separate suicide bombings over a ten day period. Suicide bombings were a hallmark the so-called “Aqsa intifada” killing hundreds of Israelis. Among the most shocking the were the August 2001 bombing of Sbarros in Jerusalem in which 15 people, mostly children were killed, and the March 2002 bombing of a Passover Seder in the Park Hotel in Netanya, which killed 30 and injured 140 more.
7. Hamas Strangles Palestinians Suspected of Working with Israel.
In 1993, the New York Times published The Hamas Way of Death, a chilling account of a member of Hamas who killed those he suspected of helping Israel.
When we execute a collaborator in public, we use a gun. But after we abduct and interrogate a collaborator, we can’t shoot him — to do so might give away our location. That’s why collaborators are strangled. Sometimes we ask the collaborator, “What do you think? How should we execute you?” One collaborator told us, “Strangle me.” He hated the sight of blood.
8. Hamas has Launched the Vast Majority of Rockets at Israeli Civilians in the South.
Since 2005 Hamas has fired over 8000 rockets into Israel. The rocket attacks have precipitated two Israeli wars, Cast Lead in 2008 and Pillar of Defense in 2012 to prevent the threat to Israel’s south. An estimated 3.5 million Israelis live within range of Hamas rockets. Hamas currently has an arsenal estimated to consist of “hundreds” of missiles.
9. Hamas is Legally in Very Hot Water.
Using evidence collected by the IDF it has been possible to trace that funds that enable Hamas and other terrorists to commit mayhem. This has, in turn, allowed victims of Hamas to seek legal remedies against organizations that have funded Hamas, including rulings against them in the United States and Israel. The prospect of formal unity with the PA could open the door to continued litigation and the turning over of Palestinian assets to terror victims. It could also open up the PA to liability for ongoing war crimes committed by Hamas.
10. Hamas Kidnapped Gilad Shalit and Just Said They Want to Do It Again.
Hamas kidnapped Gilad Shalit by building a tunnel from Gaza into Israel. Two soldiers, Lt. Hanan Barak and Staff Sgt. Pavel Slutzker, were killed in the attack. Hamas has been attempting to build more tunnels recently as a means of attacking Israel. Fortunately, they have been detected and destroyed. Even with these setbacks, Hamas’s leadership declared last week that kidnapping soldiers is a “top priority.”