Article

Hamas

Chrystie Flournoy Swiney

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online April 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0031
Hamas

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The Islamic Resistance Movement, or حركة المقاومة الاسلامية (Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamat al-Islāmiyyah) in Arabic, is a national liberation movement that employs a variety of military, political, social, and humanitarian strategies to effectuate its goal of ending the Israeli occupation. Known by its acronym Hamas (meaning zeal), it came into existence in 1987 and is based in the Palestinian Territories, notably the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Prior to 2005 it largely eschewed formal political participation, instead opting for a combination of private humanitarian outreach and militant-terroristic tactics, but after an ideological reassessment, Hamas entered politics in 2005. In the municipal elections of 2005 as well as the Palestinian Legislative Council elections of 2006, Hamas was electorally successful, gaining many seats in the former and the majority in the latter, a result that, under Palestinian law, allowed it to form a new government. Ending four decades of exclusive rule by its political rival Fatah, Hamas entered the political arena and articulated a governing platform, only to see its fortunes quickly reversed when civil conflict led to a two-headed and divided Palestinian government. In 2010 Hamas controlled Gaza, and Fatah, which the United States and large segments of the international community view as the legitimate Palestinian government, controlled the West Bank.

Article.  5126 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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