What is Hamas, the group that manages Gaza supported by Shiite Iran: its founding charter envisaged the destruction of Israel


By John

The group Hamasor Islamic Resistance Movement, was founded in 1987 during the first Palestinian Intifada. AND’ supported by Shiite Iran and shares the Islamist ideology of Muslim Brothersfounded in Egypt in the 1920s.

Hamas has run the Gaza Strip since 2007after a brief civil war with forces loyal to the Fatah movement, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank and also heads the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Hamas’ takeover of Gaza followed its victory in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, the last time they took place. Since then, numerous episodes of conflict with Israel have occurred, often involving Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel and Israeli airstrikes and bombings of Gaza.

Hamas refuses to recognize the State of Israel and violently opposes the Oslo Peace Accords negotiated by Israel and the PLO in 1993.

Hamas has an armed wing called the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, which sent gunmen and suicide bombers into Israel. Hamas characterizes its armed activities as resistance against Israeli occupation.

Its 1988 charter called for the destruction of Israelalthough Hamas leaders have sometimes offered a long-term truce with Israel in exchange for an operational Palestinian state across all Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 war.

Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, the European Union, Canada, Egypt and Japan. It is part of a regional alliance that includes Iran, Syria and the Shiite Islamist group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Although its base is in Gaza, Hamas also has supporters in the Palestinian territories, and has leaders spread across the Middle East, including in countries such as Qatar.