Hamas formed in late 1987 at the beginning of the First Intifada. The group’s charter calls for establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel and rejects all agreements made between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel.
Hamas’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades has conducted terror attacks against Israel since the 1990’s. These attacks have included suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, small-arms attacks, improvised roadside explosives, and rocket attacks.
Even as Hamas carries out terror attacks against Israeli civilians, they attempt to brand themselves as a “legitimate resistance movement”. That just isn’t true.
The definition of terror is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” This is why Hamas’s actions fits that description:
Hamas has repeatedly called for the destruction of the State of Israel
In Hamas’s new charter, which is said to be more “moderate”, Hamas says “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.”
Hamas’s leaders haven’t been shy about their goal either. Mahmoud al-Zahar, one of the co-founders of Hamas recently said “If Hamas liberated 99.9% of the land of Palestine, it will not give up on the rest. We cannot religiously, morally or nationally give up on one inch of the land of Palestine.”
Hamas leaders, Imams, and Gazan citizens celebrate terror attacks against Israel. They teach violence in their schools. Parents praise violence in their homes. The result is clear: 75% of the Palestinians in Gaza support attacks against Israelis.
That isn’t what a neighbor looking for a life of peaceful coexistence sounds like.
Hamas specifically targets Israeli civilians
Hamas came to the scene during the First Intifada in the mid 1990’s. Targeting civilians has been Hamas’s MO ever since.
Between February and March 1996, Hamas carried out several suicide bus bombings, killing nearly 60 Israelis. From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killing almost 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks. Read that again. 400 Israelis killed. 2,000 wounded. 425 attacks. And that’s all in just four years.
Since 2002, Hamas has spent massive amounts of time, effort, and money building and launching rockets at Israel. In 2016, Hamas spent 120 million dollars on building terror tunnels. In total, Hamas has launched over 11,000 rockets at Israeli population centers. A report written by Amnesty International found that Hamas rocket attacks showed “a flagrant disregard” for civilian lives.
This is the literal definition of terror. If you attempt to target civilians for political goals, you are engaging in terrorism. It’s that simple.
Hamas uses violence and extreme measures to keep Gazan civilians under their control
Since Hamas took power of the Gaza Strip in a coup in 2007, its leaders have ruled Gaza with an iron fist. They control everything, and they don’t shy away from using violence to keep it that way.
Hamas publicly executes anyone who dares challenge the group’s policies. During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Hamas forces brutally kidnapped, tortured, and killed at least 23 people who were accused of “collaborating” with Israel. These actions were designed to spread fear across the Gaza Strip.
And freedom of the press. Please. It doesn’t exist in the Gaza Strip. According to the 2016 Freedom of Press Index, the freedom of press in Gaza fell from 52% to 14% while under Hamas control. Hamas controls every broadcast and arrests and tortures journalists who voice diverging opinions.
The Hamas military wing also controls all imports to Gaza. If you thought your taxes were bad, think again. Between 2015 and 2016, Gazan taxes have gone up as much as 60%. On many products, the taxes are just as much as the cost of the actual product. Instead of using the tax income to build up the Gaza strip and improve the quality of life, Hamas allocates 67% of it straight to the military wing to continue funding terror.
It seems like to Hamas, even civilians in Gaza have little value.
Hamas refuses to denounce violence against Israel
Let’s not beat around the bush. Hamas is as pro-violence as it gets. To Hamas, attacks against civilians aren’t just a strategy for political gain, they are a reason to celebrate.
The rest of us go out and celebrate for our graduations, for our birthdays, or for our anniversaries. Hamas goes out and celebrates after successful attacks against Israelis. Just watch this video of Hamas celebrating in the streets of Gaza after reports that they kidnapped an IDF soldier. It’s sickening.
Hamas doesn’t just celebrate violence – its leaders actively incite violence against Israeli civilians. It’s what they teach their kids in schools. It’s what they show on TV. During the recent wave of terror, Hamas even released multiple graphic videos explaining how to stab Israelis.
The Imam’s incite violence in their mosques. Imagine going to your church or synagogue and hearing this on a beautiful morning: “My brother in the West Bank: Stab! My brother in the West Bank: Stab the myths of the Talmud in their minds! My brother in the West Bank: Stab the myths about the temple in their hearts!”
That isn’t the way people that want peace behave.