The Muslim Brotherhood’s presence in the Palestinian territories dates back to the 1960s, when the group established a set of charities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the Brotherhood continued to amass support within the Palestinian territories. In 1987, a group of Brotherhood activists established a formal Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood, Hamas.Jonathan Masters, “Hamas,” Council on Foreign Relations, November 27, 2012, http://www.cfr.org/israel/hamas/p8968. Hamas maintains that it operates independently of the Brotherhood,Selin Nasi, “The Muslim Brotherhood bears the cost of reset in Mideast,” Hurriyet Daily News, May 6, 2016, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/the-muslim-brotherhood-bears-the-cost-of-reset-in-mideast-.aspx?pageID=449&nID=98804&NewsCatID=570. publicly disavowing the Brotherhood in March 2016.Jack Khoury, “Hamas Denies Links With Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Elsewhere,” Haaretz, March 23, 2016, http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-1.710423. Nevertheless, Hamas and the Brotherhood have cooperated in recent years, particularly during the Egyptian Brotherhood’s year in power. Further, Hamas continues to label itself in its charter as “one of the wings of the Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine.” According to the charter, the Brotherhood is “a universal organization…. The largest Islamic Movement in modern times.”“The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” Avalon Project, Yale Law School, August 18, 1988, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp. On May 1, 2017, Hamas convened a press conference in Qatar to unveil a new policy document, the first since the release of its organizational charter in 1988. However, the revised document does not replace the original 1988 charter, which remains in effect with its linkage to the Brotherhood.“New Hamas policy document ‘aims to soften image,’” BBC News, May 1, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39744551. Moreover, the new language has no bearing on Hamas’s commitment to violent “armed resistance” against Israel, and the “liberation” of all of Palestine “from the river to the sea.”“A Document of General Principles & Policies,” Hamas Media Office, accessed May 2, 2017, http://hamas.ps/ar/uploads/documents/06c77206ce934064ab5a901fa8bfef44.pdf.
Hamas is responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israel, and is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States“Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, May 8, 2009, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm. and the European Union,“EU Blacklists Hamas Political Wing,” BBC News, September 11, 2003, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3100518.stm. among other governments and organizations. In 2006, Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza, to which the so-called quartet of Middle East peacemakers—the United States, European Union, United Nations, and Russia—responded by demanding that Hamas renounce violence, formally recognize the State of Israel, and abide by past agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in order to receive international recognition.“Quartet: Hamas Must Change Policy,” CNN, January 31, 2006, http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/01/30/hamas.funding/. Hamas has refused to comply and ousted its political opponent, Fatah, from Gaza the following year.Conal Urquart, Ian Black, and Mark Tran, “Hamas Takes Control of Gaza,” Guardian (London), June 15, 2007, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jun/15/israel4. Hamas has since run the coastal enclave separately from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which maintains control over the West Bank.Rasha Abou Jalal, “Why does Hamas, Fatah reconciliation keep failing?,” Al-Monitor, March 8, 2016, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/03/palestinian-hamas-fatah-reconciliation-doha.html.
Hamas’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood have strained its relations with Egypt’s government led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Following the 2013 overthrow of Egypt’s Brotherhood government, Egypt has increasingly cracked down on Hamas. In late 2013, the Egyptian army closed most of the underground smuggling tunnels beneath the Gaza-Egypt border, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in revenue.Associated Press, “Hamas in Worst Cash Crisis since Seizing Gaza,” Yahoo News, March 13, 2014, http://news.yahoo.com/hamas-worst-cash-crisis-since-seizing-gaza-181239758.html. In 2014, Egyptian courts labeled Hamas a terrorist organization, although the designation was later overturned.“Court in Egypt bans Palestinian group Hamas,” BBC News, March 4, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26432122; Joshua Berlinger and Ian Lee, “Egyptian court designates Hamas as a terror organization, state media says,” CNN, February 28, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/28/middleeast/egypt-hamas-terror-designation/; “Egyptian court cancels Hamas listing as terrorist organization: sources,” Reuters, June 6, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-hamas-idUSKBN0OM0BZ20150606.
In June 2015, Egypt’s chief prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, died in a car bombing in Cairo. The Egyptian government later accused Hamas of coordinating the assassination with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.“Muslim Brotherhood conspired with Hamas to kill prosecutor, Egypt claims,” Guardian (London), March 6, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/06/muslim-brotherhood-hamas-prosecutor-egypt-assassinated-hisham-barakat. As part of spring 2016 discussions to repair their relationship, Egypt demanded that Hamas renounce the Brotherhood ahead of any rapprochement.Adnan Abu Amer, “Hamas tones down Brotherhood links to improve Egypt ties,” Al-Monitor, May 13, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/05/gaza-egypt-hamas-brotherhood-elections.html#/. In March 2016, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied any links between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.Jack Khoury, “Hamas Denies Links With Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Elsewhere,” Haaretz, March 23, 2016, http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-1.710423. Egypt also accuses Hamas of facilitating terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula.Yaakov Lappin, “Hamas delegation fails to improve relations, report says,” Jerusalem Post, March 16, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Hamas-delegation-to-Egypt-fails-to-improve-relations-report-says-448115. Despite the accusation, Egypt and Hamas have reportedly agreed to cooperate to enhance security along the Gaza-Egypt border in a joint effort to weaken ISIS’s Egyptian affiliate there, Wilayat Sinai.Sudarsan Raghavan and William Booth, “Israel, Hamas and Egypt form unlikely alliance against Islamic State,” Washington Post, April 30, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israel-hamas-and-egypt-form-unlikely-alliance-against-islamic-state-affiliate/2016/04/30/cacb99dc-fb79-11e5-813a-90ab563f0dde_story.html. Hamas also worked with Egypt throughout 2017 to reach a unity agreement in October with the group’s main political opponent, Fatah, though the agreement’s implementation has since stalled.“Hamas agrees to steps towards Palestinian unity,” Al Jazeera, September 17, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/hamas-agrees-steps-palestinian-unity-170917050746920.html; Declan Walsh and David M. Halbfinger, “Unity Deal Offers Hope for Palestinians and a Respite for Gaza,” New York Times, October 12, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/12/world/middleeast/palestinians-fatah-hamas-gaza.html; Adam Rasgon, “Hamas Leader: Group Still Seeking Reconciliation With Fatah,” Jerusalem Post, January 24, 2018, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Hamas-leader-Group-still-seeking-reconciliation-with-Fatah-539633.
In addition to ties with the Egyptian Brotherhood, Hamas also reportedly maintains a relationship with the Jordanian Brotherhood. Former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, for example, was believed to maintain a close relationship with Jordanian Brotherhood leader Hammam Saeed.“Hammam Said,” Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, accessed May 29, 2015, http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/people/hammam-said. Saeed has publicly supported Hamas’s violent activities, and criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for curtailing the Palestinian “armed struggle.”Bassem Eid, “Abbas under fire,” Jerusalem Post, December 10, 2014, http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Abbas-under-fire-384268. Israel has accused the Jordanian Brotherhood of providing material support to Hamas.“‘Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood smuggling weapons to Palestinians,’” Times of Israel, December 8, 2014, http://www.timesofisrael.com/jordanian-mb-smuggling-weapons-to-palestinians/. In November 2014, Jordanian authorities arrested members of a suspected Brotherhood cell that was allegedly passing weapons and money to suspected terrorists in the West Bank.Jack Moore, “Israel: Muslim Brotherhood cell in Jordan 'smuggling weapons to West Bank Palestinians,’” International Business Times, December 8, 2014, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/israel-muslim-brotherhood-cell-jordan-smuggling-weapons-west-bank-palestinians-1478561; Roi Kais, “Report: Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan smuggled weapons for attacks in West Bank,” YNet News, December 2, 2014, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4598485,00.html.
In June 2017, several Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in response to that country’s ongoing support for Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other extremist and internationally-sanctioned terrorist groups.Patrick Wintour, “Gulf Plunged into Diplomatic Crisis as Countries Cut Ties with Qatar,” Guardian (London), June 5, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/05/saudi-arabia-and-bahrain-break-diplomatic-ties-with-qatar-over-terrorism. In response, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the Associated Press that the country has the right to support these groups, and in a separate statement, called Hamas in particular “a legitimate resistance movement.”Malak Harb and Jon Gambrell, “Arab Nations Add Names to Terror List amid Qatar Dispute,” Associated Press, June 9, 2017, https://apnews.com/0f252c487b7b431682a3555f68703eeb; “Qatari FM Insists Hamas ‘a Legitimate Resistance Movement,’” Times of Israel, June 10, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/qatari-fm-insists-hamas-a-legitimate-resistance-movement/.
On October 5, 2017, Hamas elected Saleh al-Arouri as its deputy leader. On October 12, Hamas and Fatah signed an Egyptian-brokered agreement to implement a 2011 reconciliation pact. Hamas and Fatah agreed to allow the PA to resume control of Gaza by December 1. The PA took control of Gaza’s border crossings on November 1. The sides delayed negotiation on Hamas’s armed wing as Abbas demanded that Hamas disarm, while Hamas insisted on maintaining its weapons.Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams, “Hamas picks new deputy chief whom Israel blames for helping spark Gaza war,” Reuters, October 5, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-palestinians-israel-hamas/hamas-picks-new-deputy-chief-whom-israel-blames-for-helping-spark-gaza-war-idUSKBN1CA1NM; Hamza Hendaqi and Fares Akram, “Palestinian rivals reach preliminary deal on governing Gaza,” Associated Press, October 12, 2017, https://apnews.com/28b183dff81c41cc9e2bbd1e62361b26/Palestinian-rivals-reach-preliminary-deal-on-governing-Gaza; Dov Lieber, “Translation of leaked Hamas-Fatah agreement,” Times of Israel, October 13, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/translation-of-leaked-hamas-fatah-agreement/; Isabel Kershner, “Hamas Hands Gaza Crossings to Palestinian Authority in Unity Deal Milestone,” New York Times, November 1, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/01/world/middleeast/hamas-palestinian-authority-borders-gaza.html. Hamas reportedly agreed to halt all attacks against Israel but has since participated in rocket attacks alongside Palestinian Islamic Jihad.Dov Lieber, “In deal with Fatah, Hamas said to agree to halt attacks from West Bank,” Times of Israel, October 15, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-deal-with-fatah-hamas-said-to-agree-to-halt-attacks-from-west-bank/; Oren Liebermann, “Biggest Israel-Gaza firefight since 2014 ends in ceasefire,” CNN, November 13, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/13/middleeast/israel-gaza-tesnions-escalate-intl/index.html; Judah Ari Gross and Raoul Wootliff, “Hamas claims Liberman’s resignation as a ‘victory for Gaza,’” Times of Israel, November 14, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-claims-libermans-resignation-as-a-victory-for-gaza/.
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have failed to actualize their reconciliation agreement, and Hamas continues to remain in power in the Gaza Strip. Despite its claims to have severed ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas is deeply rooted in the Brotherhood and the groups remain ideologically linked.
Per its charter, Hamas is dedicated to the total destruction of Israel.“The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” Avalon Project, Yale Law School, August 18, 1988, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp. The group has engaged in multiple forms of violence against Israel, from suicide bombings to rocket attacks.
- April 6, 1994
Hamas dispatches its first suicide bomber to target Israeli civilians, 19-year-old Ra’id Zaqarna. Zaqarna drives up alongside the No. 348 bus in Afula, Israel, and detonates his explosives, killing eight people and wounding 44.Clyde Haberman, “Arab Car Bomber Kills 8 in Israel, 44 Are Wounded,” New York Times, April 7, 1994, http://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/07/world/arab-car-bomber-kills-8-in-israel-44-are-wounded.html.
- February – March 1996
A series of Hamas suicide bombings in Israel kill more than 50 people. Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat condemns the bombings and the PA arrests 140 Hamas suspects.“Timeline: The Evolution of Hamas,” CNN, December 30, 2008, http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/hamas.profile/.
- 2000 – 2005
Hamas is responsible for 39.9 percent of 151 suicide attacks during the second intifada.Efraim Benmelech and Claude Berrebbi, “Human Capital and the Productivity of Suicide Bombers,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 21, no. 3 (Summer 2007): 223–38, http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/benmelech/html/BenmelechPapers/Human_Capital_Suicide_Bombers.pdf.
- June 25, 2006
A group of Palestinian terrorists from multiple groups, including Hamas, cross the Gaza border into Israel using an underground tunnel and attack an Israeli military outpost, killing two soldiers and taking 19-year-old Corporal Gilad Shalit hostage. Hamas denies participation.Tim Butcher, “Soldier Kidnapped and Two Killed in Gaza Tunnel Attack,” Telegraph [U.K.], June 26, 2006, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/1522370/Soldier-kidnapped-and-two-killed-in-Gaza-tunnel-attack.html; Steven Erlanger, “Tensions Rise After Israeli Is Kidnapped,” New York Times, June 26, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/26/world/middleeast/26cnd-mideast.html. In July, Israel launches Operation Summer Rain in response to Hamas’s cross-border attack. During the resulting war, Hamas hits Israel with hundreds of rockets.“The Hamas terror war against Israel,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 2011, http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/terrorism/palestinian/pages/missile%20fire%20from%20gaza%20on%20israeli%20civilian%20targets%20aug%202007.aspx.
- 2001 – 2008
Hamas launches more than 3,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortar attacks at Israeli targets.“Israel At ‘War to the Bitter End,’ Strikes Key Hamas Sites,” Fox News, December 29, 2008, http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/12/29/israel-at-war-to-bitter-end-strikes-key-hamas-sites.
- 2008 – 2009
Hamas’s continues to fire rockets into Israel.“Timeline: The Evolution of Hamas,” CNN, December 30, 2008, http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/hamas.profile/. Hamas breaks a ceasefire with Israel in December 2008. In response, Israel launches Operation Cast Lead, a three-week long military offensive. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Cast Lead results in 1,417 Palestinian casualties, 926 of them civilians.“Rights group names 1,417 Gaza war dead,” Washington Times, March 19, 2009, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/19/rights-group-names-1417-gaza-war-dead-1/. The Israel Defense Forces claims the number of Palestinian deaths to be 1,166, with 709 of these being “Hamas terror operatives.”“Operation Cast Lead,” Institute for Middle East Understanding, January 4, 2012, http://imeu.org/article/operation-cast-lead; “Israel/Gaza Operation ‘Cast Lead’: 22 Days of Death and Destruction,” Amnesty International, 2009, 67, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/015/2009/en/8f299083-9a74-4853-860f-0563725e633a/mde150152009en.pdf.
Hamas launches more than 750 rockets into Israeli territory before Israel launches a major retaliatory ground operation in November.Matthew Kalman, “Massed Israeli Troops Poised for Invasion of Gaza,” Independent (London), November 15, 2012, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/massed-israeli-troops-poised-for-invasion-of-gaza-8316615.html.
- June – August 2014
Hamas and Israel engage in a three-month conflict during which Hamas launches more than 2,000 rockets into Israel.Yasmine Saleh and Lin Noueihed, “Israel, Hamas Militants Begin 72-Hour Truce,” Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2014, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-israel-hamas-gaza-truce-20140804-story.html.
- November 2014
Jordanian authorities arrest 31 people after receiving intelligence from Israel that they are part of a Brotherhood cell. The suspects are accused of passing weapons and money to suspected terrorists in the West Bank.Jack Moore, “Israel: Muslim Brotherhood cell in Jordan 'smuggling weapons to West Bank Palestinians,’” International Business Times, December 8, 2014, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/israel-muslim-brotherhood-cell-jordan-smuggling-weapons-west-bank-palestinians-1478561; Roi Kais, “Report: Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan smuggled weapons for attacks in West Bank,” YNet News, December 2, 2014, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4598485,00.html.
- June 2015
Egypt’s chief prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, is killed in a car bombing in Cairo. The Egyptian government later accuses Hamas of coordinating the attack with the Muslim Brotherhood.“Muslim Brotherhood conspired with Hamas to kill prosecutor, Egypt claims,” Guardian (London), March 6, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/06/muslim-brotherhood-hamas-prosecutor-egypt-assassinated-hisham-barakat.
- August 26, 2015
Hamas posts a video online of its members digging underground tunnels beneath Gaza and fighting Israeli soldiers. The video also includes a simulated takeover of an IDF base.“Watch: Hamas reveals ‘commando tunnel unit’ in new propaganda clip,” Jerusalem Post, August 27, 2015, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/WATCH-Hamas-reveals-commando-tunnel-unit-in-new-propaganda-clip-413421.
- April 1, 2016
The Qassam Brigades releases photos of four Israelis it claims to be holding in Gaza. The photos are of two living soldiers and the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, both of whom were killed during the 2014 war. Hamas does not identify the living captives. Hamas also denies that it is negotiating with Israel for their return.Diaa Hadid, “Hamas Releases Photographs Said to Show Captured Israelis,” New York Times, April 1, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/02/world/middleeast/hamas-releases-photographs-said-to-show-captured-israelis.html.
- April 18, 2016
A bomb explodes on board a Jerusalem bus, wounding 21 people in an attack later claimed by Hamas. On April 20, a 19-year-old Palestinian man wounded in the explosion dies from his wounds.Amos Harel, Jack Khoury, Yair Ettinger, and Nir Hasson, “Hamas Claims Responsibility for Jerusalem Bus Bombing,” Haaretz, April 20, 2016, http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.715554; “Hamas claims responsibility for Jerusalem bus bombing,” Jerusalem Post, April 20, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Hamas-claims-responsibility-for-Jerusalem-bus-bombing-451891.
- May 29, 2018
Hamas and PIJ fire at least 28 mortars at communities in southern Israel. The Israeli military responds by bombing Gaza facilities belonging to Hamas and PIJ. There are no casualties reported on either side. It is reportedly the largest confrontation between Hamas and Israel since the 2014 war.Bethann McKernan, “Gaza militants pelt Israel with rockets in biggest attack in years,” Independent (London), May 29, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/gaza-rocket-attack-israel-hamas-palestinians-protest-idf-a8373556.html; “Live Updates: Why Israel Agreed to Hamas' Request to End Fighting,” Haaretz (Jerusalem), May 31, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/why-israel-agreed-gaza-cease-fire-with-hamas-1.6131634.
- October 7, 2018
A Palestinian gunman attacks the Barkan Industrial Park in the West Bank, killing two and wounding one. The attacker, identified as industrial park employee Ashraf Naalwa, reportedly binds two Israeli employees and shoots them at close range, killing them both. Naalwa flees afterward. On December 13, Israeli forces in the West Bank locate Naalwa, who dies in an ensuing firefight. After his death, Hamas’s Qassam Brigades identifies Naalwa as a member and claim responsibility for the attack.“Manhunt after two Israelis killed at West Bank factory,” BBC News, October 8, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45783482; Adam Rasoon, “Hamas spokesman praises ‘heroic’ West Bank terror attack,” Times of Israel, December 13, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-spokesman-praises-heroic-west-bank-terror-attack/; Ruth Eglash and Loveday Morris, “Two Israelis shot dead in West Bank attack as Hamas claims earlier attacks,” Washington Post, December 13, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israel-hunts-down-palestinians-behind-pair-of-attacks-as-3-day-old-victim-is-buried/2018/12/13/88a34a68-feab-11e8-83c0-b06139e540e5_story.html?utm_term=.9df174daf37d.
- November 12 – 14, 2018
Hamas and PIJ fire more than 450 rockets into Israel, killing one and wounding dozens. After Israel responds with airstrikes in Gaza, the groups agree to a ceasefire on November 13. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman resigns on November 14 in protest of the ceasefire, briefly destabilizing Israel’s governing coalition. Hamas claims the move as a victory.Oren Liebermann, “Biggest Israel-Gaza firefight since 2014 ends in ceasefire,” CNN, November 13, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/13/middleeast/israel-gaza-tesnions-escalate-intl/index.html; Judah Ari Gross and Raoul Wootliff, “Hamas claims Liberman’s resignation as a ‘victory for Gaza,’” Times of Israel, November 14, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-claims-libermans-resignation-as-a-victory-for-gaza/; Raoul Wootliff, “Israel heads toward elections as Jewish Home says it will leave coalition,” Times of Israel, November 16, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-heads-toward-elections-as-jewish-home-says-will-leave-coalition/.
Ties to Extremist Groups
- Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade
Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade carried out several joint terrorist operations during the second intifada, including a March 2004 attack at the port of Ashdod that killed 10 Israelis,“Timeline: The Evolution of Hamas,” CNN, December 30, 2008, http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/hamas.profile/. and a suicide bombing the following month at Gaza’s Erez Crossing that killed a border guard and wounded three others.Conal Urquhart, “Israeli Missile Attack Kills New Hamas Chief,” Guardian (London), April 18, 2004, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/apr/18/israel. The Brigade has also joined Hamas in launching rockets at Israel over the years, most recently during the July 2014 conflict.Elhanan Miller, “Fatah Joins Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Missile Launches,” Times of Israel, July 10, 2014, http://www.timesofisrael.com/moderate-fatah-joins-hamas-and-islamic-jihad-in-missile-launches/.
Hamas and Hezbollah have at times cooperated, though the groups have recently split over competing allegiances in the Syrian civil war. Despite tensions between Hamas and Hezbollah over the Syrian civil war, relations between the two groups are reportedly still good, according to a Hezbollah source in 2013.Haytham Mouzahem, “Hezbollah-Hamas Relations ‘Good’ Despite Beirut Bombing Accusations,” Al-Monitor, August 27, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulseen/originals/2013/08/hezbollah-hamas-relations-beirut-bombing-accusations.html. During the July 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, Hamas reportedly invited Hezbollah to join in its rocket campaign against Israel.Ariel Ben Solomon, “Hamas Invites Hezbollah to Join in Fighting against Israel,” Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2014, http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/Hamas-invites-Hezbollah-to-join-in-fighting-against-Israel-369379. In November 2015, leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah met in Beirut to discuss paramilitary coordination against Israel and ISIS.Khaled Abu Toameh, “Hamas and Hezbollah leaders meet in Beirut to discuss Palestinian ‘intifada,’” Jerusalem Post, November 22, 2015, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Hamas-and-Hezbollah-leaders-meet-in-Beirut-to-discuss-Palestinian-Intifada-434948.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared ISIS and Hamas “branches of the same poisonous tree.” Charlotte Alter, “Netanyahu Tells World Leaders ‘Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas,’” Time, September 29, 2014, http://time.com/3445394/netanyahu-un-general-assembly-hamas-abbas/. Netanyahu went on to say: “When it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas. And what they share in common, all militant Islamists share in common.”Charlotte Alter, “Netanyahu Tells World Leaders ‘Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas,’” Time, September 29, 2014, http://time.com/3445394/netanyahu-un-general-assembly-hamas-abbas/.
Leaders of Wilayat Sinai, ISIS’s affiliate in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, have allegedly met with Hamas to discuss military coordination.“Hamas Hosts ISIS Commander in Gaza to Expand Terror Cooperation,” Algemeiner, December 4, 2015, http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/12/04/hamas-hosts-isis-commander-in-gaza-to-expand-terror-cooperation/#. Hamas has also reportedly used its fledgling drone program to spy on Egyptian military positions on behalf of Wilayat Sinai,Avi Issacharoff, “An unlikely alliance between Hamas and Islamic State,” Times of Israel, July 12, 2015, http://www.timesofisrael.com/an-unlikely-alliance-between-hamas-and-islamic-state/. and has also allegedly smuggled weapons to the group through underground tunnels. In December 2015, Israeli media reported that Hamas pays Wilayat Sinai tens of thousands of dollars a month to smuggle weapons into Gaza.Alex Fishman, “Hamas is funding Islamic State in Sinai,” YNet News, December 14, 2015, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4739234,00.html. In February 2016, an ISIS fighter wrote to leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to protest the growing ties between Hamas and Wilayat Sinai. The fighter, a Gazan named Abu ‘Abdallah Al-Muhajir, confirmed reports of cross-border weapons smuggling and Hamas’s medical and logistical aid to Wilayat Sinai. Al-Muhajir further accused Wilayat Sinai of acting as a Hamas pawn.“Exclusive: Letter By ISIS Fighter To Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Reveals ISIS-Sinai's Ties To Hamas,” MEMRI, March 2, 2016, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/9051.htm.
Israeli media reported in January 2017 that Wilayat Sinai had opened a media propaganda office in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has also reportedly continued to provide medical aid to wounded ISIS fighters from the Sinai.Avi Issacharoff, “Hamas, Islamic State resume close cooperation despite pressure from Cairo,” Times of Israel, January 15, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-islamic-state-resume-close-cooperation-despite-pressure-from-cairo/. The Times of Israel reported in February 2017 that “dozens” of top Hamas commanders had defected to Wilayat Sinai in the past three years.Avi Issacharoff, “Elite Hamas commanders defecting to Islamic State,” Times of Israel, February 7, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/elite-hamas-fighters-defecting-to-islamic-state/.
Nonetheless, ISIS supporters in the Gaza Strip have promised to be a “thorn in the throat of Hamas” and targeted the group in several bombings throughout 2015.Dia Hadid and Majd Al Waheidi, “ISIS Allies Target Hamas and Engage Gaza Extremists,” New York Times, June 30, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/01/world/isis-allies-target-hamas-and-energize-gaza-extremists.html. In June 2015, ISIS in Syria released a video statement threatening to topple Hamas based on accusations that Hamas is not sufficiently religious. Hamas has at times violently cracked down on ISIS supporters in Gaza.“Islamic State threatens to topple Hamas in Gaza,” Peninsula (Doha), July 1, 2015, http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/middle-east/346940/islamic-state-threatens-to-topple-hamas-in-gaza.
- Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
On June 25, 2006, a group of Palestinian terrorists from multiple groups, including Hamas, crossed the Gaza border into Israel using an underground tunnel and attacked an IDF military outpost, killing two soldiers and taking 19-year-old Corporal Gilad Shalit hostage.Tim Butcher, “Soldier Kidnapped and Two Killed in Gaza Tunnel Attack,” Telegraph (London), June 26, 2006, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/1522370/Soldier-kidnapped-and-two-killed-in-Gaza-tunnel-attack.html. Hamas denied any participation, but it was later revealed that the group—as well as members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—were involved in the operation.Steven Erlanger, “Tensions Rise After Israeli Is Kidnapped,” New York Times, June 26, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/26/world/middleeast/26cnd-mideast.html; “Q&A: Gilad Shalit Capture,” BBC News, June 24, 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6238858.stm. Hamas and PIJ announced a formal agreement in 2012 to combine forces in their fight against Israel.Elhanan Miller, “Gaza’s Hamas and Islamic Jihad Formally Join Forces to Fight Israel,” Times of Israel, October 10, 2012, http://www.timesofisrael.com/gazas-hamas-and-islamic-jihad-formally-join-forces-to-fight-israel/. The following year, the two groups announced plans to create a joint command and a new political vision for Gaza.Elhanan Miller, “Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Form Joint Command,” Times of Israel, September 17, 2013, http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-and-islamic-jihad-to-form-joint-command/. In 2018, Hamas and PIJ jointly claimed responsibility for hundreds of rocket attacks on Israel.Oren Liebermann, “Biggest Israel-Gaza firefight since 2014 ends in ceasefire,” CNN, November 13, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/13/middleeast/israel-gaza-tesnions-escalate-intl/index.html; Judah Ari Gross and Raoul Wootliff, “Hamas claims Liberman’s resignation as a ‘victory for Gaza,’” Times of Israel, November 14, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-claims-libermans-resignation-as-a-victory-for-gaza/; Raoul Wootliff, “Israel heads toward elections as Jewish Home says it will leave coalition,” Times of Israel, November 16, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-heads-toward-elections-as-jewish-home-says-will-leave-coalition/.
United StatesJanuary 24, 1995
The U.S. Department of the Treasury designates Hamas as a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization (SDTO), prohibiting financial transactions between U.S. persons or charities and the designated SDTO. Executive Order 12947,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, January 23, 1995 http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/12947.pdf.October 8, 1997
The Department of State lists Hamas as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, May 8, 2009 http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm.
AustraliaNovember 9, 2003
Australia listed Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization on November 9, 2003. “Listed terrorist organisations,” Australian National Security, accessed February 23, 2015 http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/default.aspx.
EgyptMarch 4, 2014
Egypt banned Hamas on March 4, 2014. Egypt’s Urgent Matters Court designated Hamas’s armed wing a terrorist organization in January 2015 and Hamas as a terrorist group that February. Joshua Berlinger and Ian Lee, “Egyptian court designates Hamas as a terror organization, state media says,” CNN, February 28, 2015 http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/28/middleeast/egypt-hamas-terror-designation/. An appeals court canceled the designation in June 2015. Egyptian court cancels Hamas listing as terrorist organization: sources,” Reuters, June 6, 2015 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-hamas-idUSKBN0OM0BZ20150606.
European UnionDecember 27 2001
The European Union designated Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades, a terrorist organization on December 27 2001. The European Union froze Hamas’s European assets under Article 2(3) of Regulation (EC) No. 2580/2001 on December 21, 2005. Council Common Position of 27 December 2001 on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism,” Eur-Lex, December 27, 2001 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A32001E0931.
Israel has designated Hamas as a terrorist organization. Israel At ‘War to the Bitter End,’ Strikes Key Hamas Sites,” Fox News, December 29, 2008 http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/12/29/israel-at-war-to-bitter-end-strikes-key-hamas-sites. Profile: Hamas Palestinian Movement,” BBC News, last updated July 11, 2014 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-13331522.
Japan has designated Hamas as a terrorist organization. Israel At ‘War to the Bitter End,’ Strikes Key Hamas Sites,” Fox News, December 29, 2008 http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/12/29/israel-at-war-to-bitter-end-strikes-key-hamas-sites. Profile: Hamas Palestinian Movement,” BBC News, last updated July 11, 2014 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-13331522.
Jordan has banned Hamas. Israel At ‘War to the Bitter End,’ Strikes Key Hamas Sites,” Fox News, December 29, 2008 http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/12/29/israel-at-war-to-bitter-end-strikes-key-hamas-sites. Profile: Hamas Palestinian Movement,” BBC News, last updated July 11, 2014 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-13331522.
New ZealandOctober 11, 2011
New Zealand listed the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades as a Terrorist Entity on October 11, 2011 under the Terrorism Suppression Act of 2002. Designated Individuals and Organization,” New Zealand Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, last updated October 9, 2014 http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/personal-community/counterterrorism/designated-entities/lists-associated-with-resolutions-1267-1989-1988.
United KingdomMarch, 2001
The United Kingdom listed Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a Terror Group under the Terrorism Act 2000 in March 2001. James Brokenshire MP, “Proscribed Terror Groups or Organizations,” The Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Home Office, last updated September 15, 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/proscribed-terror-groups-or-organisations--2.
For a complete list of countries and organizations that have designated the Muslim Brotherhood, please see the Muslim Brotherhood's full report
In Their Own Words
“There shall be no recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist entity.”“A Document of General Principles & Policies,” Hamas Media Office, accessed May 2, 2017, http://hamas.ps/ar/uploads/documents/06c77206ce934064ab5a901fa8bfef44.pdf.
“Resistance and jihad for the liberation of Palestine will remain a legitimate right, a duty and a n honour for all the sons and daughters of our people and our Ummah.”“A Document of General Principles & Policies,” Hamas Media Office, accessed May 2, 2017, http://hamas.ps/ar/uploads/documents/06c77206ce934064ab5a901fa8bfef44.pdf.
“Resisting the occupation with all means and methods is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and by international norms and laws. At the heart of these lies armed resistance, which is regarded as the principle choice for protecting the principles and the rights of the Palestinian people.”“A Document of General Principles & Policies,” Hamas Media Office, accessed May 2, 2017, http://hamas.ps/ar/uploads/documents/06c77206ce934064ab5a901fa8bfef44.pdf.
“Although we come from the same ideological line as the Muslim Brotherhood, we are a Palestinian liberation movement. Our decisions come from our own advisory boards and the Hamas leadership.”Selin Nasi, “The Muslim Brotherhood bears the cost of reset in Mideast,” Hurriyet Daily News, May 6, 2016, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/the-muslim-brotherhood-bears-the-cost-of-reset-in-mideast-.aspx?pageID=449&nID=98804&NewsCatID=570
“Hamas is not politically isolated. Do not exaggerate the difficulties with Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood is not finished.”Hazem Balousha, “Will Iran, Hamas Resume Relations?” Al-Monitor, December 30, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulseen/originals/2013/12/iran-hamas-resume-relations-funding.html.
“The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1939, to the emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kissam and his brethren the fighters, members of Moslem Brotherhood. It goes on to reach out and become one with another chain that includes the struggle of the Palestinians and Moslem Brotherhood in the 1948 war and the Jihad operations of the Moslem Brotherhood in 1968 and after.”“The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” Avalon Project, Yale Law School, August 18, 1988, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp.
“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.”“The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” Avalon Project, Yale Law School, August 18, 1988, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp.
“‘Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it’ -The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna [founder of the Muslim Brotherhood], of blessed memory.”“The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” Avalon Project, Yale Law School, August 18, 1988, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp.