Hamas, short for the Islamic Resistance Movement, is a Palestinian political and military organization that plays a significant role in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It was founded in 1987 during the First Intifada (Palestinian uprising) against Israeli rule in the occupied territories.

Key points about Hamas:

  1. Ideology: Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist organization with a political and military wing. Its ideology is rooted in Islam and resistance to Israeli occupation. It aims to establish an Islamic state in historic Palestine.
  2. Founding and Leadership: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and other Palestinian leaders founded Hamas as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. After Yassin’s assassination in 2004, Khaled Mashal became the organization’s leader.
  3. Political Activities: Hamas is known for its political activities, particularly its participation in the Palestinian legislative elections. In 2006, it won a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, leading to tensions with the Palestinian Authority (led by Fatah) and eventually the division of the Palestinian territories into Hamas-controlled Gaza and Fatah-controlled West Bank.
  4. Armed Wing: The military wing of Hamas, known as the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has been involved in armed resistance against Israeli forces and civilians. This has included rocket attacks on Israeli towns, suicide bombings, and clashes with Israeli troops.
  5. Relations with Israel: Hamas does not recognize the state of Israel and is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, the European Union, and other countries. Its refusal to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist has been a major obstacle to peace negotiations.
  6. Gaza Strip: Since 2007, Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip, following a violent conflict with Fatah. The international community has imposed a blockade on Gaza in response to Hamas’s rule, which has had significant humanitarian implications for the population in the area.
  7. Ceasefires and Conflicts: Over the years, Hamas has been involved in numerous conflicts and ceasefires with Israel, resulting in periods of relative calm and escalations of violence.
  8. Social Services: In addition to its political and military activities, Hamas has provided social services to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including education, healthcare, and welfare programs.

Hamas’s role in the Israel-Palestine conflict is complex and controversial. Some view it as a resistance movement defending Palestinian rights, while others consider it a terrorist organization responsible for violence against Israeli civilians. The status of Hamas and its relations with other Palestinian factions, such as Fatah, continue to be key factors in the efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Israel and Palestine conflict

The Israel-Palestine conflict is a long-standing and deeply rooted dispute between Israelis and Palestinians over issues such as territory, borders, security, and sovereignty. The conflict has its origins in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Jewish and Arab national movements emerged in the region, then known as Palestine, which was under Ottoman rule.

Israel flag with a view of old city Jerusalem and the KOTEL- Western wall

Key points in the Israel-Palestine conflict:

  1. Historical Background:
    • Jewish immigration to Palestine increased significantly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, leading to tensions with the Arab population.
    • After World War I, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate to govern Palestine. During this period, Jewish immigration continued to rise.
    • The United Nations approved the partition plan in 1947, which recommended the division of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, along with an international administration for Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by the Jewish leadership but rejected by the Arab states.
  2. Creation of Israel:
    • On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence, and neighboring Arab states launched a military intervention in response.
    • This conflict led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, resulting in a complex and ongoing refugee issue.
  3. Wars and Conflicts:
    • The Israel-Palestine conflict has been marked by a series of wars, including the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Six-Day War (1967), and the Yom Kippur War (1973).
    • These conflicts have had significant political, territorial, and humanitarian consequences.
  4. Occupied Territories:
    • Israel has maintained control over various territories since the 1967 Six-Day War, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which are considered occupied by the international community.
    • The status of these territories, Israeli settlements, and the rights of Palestinians living in these areas remain contentious issues.
  5. Peace Process:
    • Multiple attempts have been made to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians, including the Oslo Accords in the 1990s and the Camp David Summit in 2000.
    • These negotiations have had varying degrees of success but have not resulted in a final resolution.
  6. Current Situation:
    • The conflict remains a major source of tension in the Middle East, with ongoing violence and political disputes.
    • Humanitarian issues, such as access to basic services and rights, are of concern, especially for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Efforts to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict continue, but it remains a deeply complex and deeply entrenched issue. A two-state solution, with Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace, has been a commonly proposed solution, but the path to achieving this remains challenging due to historical grievances, security concerns, and the status of Jerusalem, among other factors.