Hamas & Co. and Legitimacy

Political Islam is at the heart of two organizations that have continually stoked the fires of violence against Israel: Hamas and Hezbollah. There will be no peace in Palestine as long as Hamas retains any power. The very charter of the organization states that “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors” (Hamas, 1988, art. 13). Milton-Edwards makes it clear that Hamas is not willing to accept any compromise that allows Israel to exist in any part of Palestine (2006, p. 154). Hamas also opposes the Palestinian Authority’s attempts to create a secular Palestinian state. They will only be satisfied by an Islamic state that encompasses the whole of Palestine. This makes compromise with them impossible, because even if an agreement were to be reached for a two-state solution with more moderate Palestinians, like Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas would not stop their attacks on Israel but would also likely attack the new Palestinian state as well, given their history of violence against Fatah in the Gaza strip in 2007 and their more recent extrajudicial executions of April 15 (Hider, 2010).

Hezbollah provides an Islamist threat on the Northern end of Israel, albeit of a more Iranian variety. What both Hamas and Hezbollah have in common is that in addition to their thirst for blood, both organizations have sought greater legitimacy and power through democratic elections and social programs. Hamas took power in Gaza in 2006 through the ballot box (Milton-Edwards, 2006) and Hezbollah has also fought for seats in Lebanon’s parliament. Both organizations operate an extensive array of welfare, educational, religious and first aid programs in their respective areas. Their election victories and social outreach give them a legitimacy that makes them even more dangerous to the rest of the world than their thirst for violence (Pipes, 2009). A secular Palestinian state would have a difficult time coexisting peacefully with Israel, and the chances of a peaceful solution are infinitismal with an Islamic state driven by the ideology of Hamas.


Hamas. (1988). The covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Retrieved from http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm.

Hider, J. (2010). Hamas executes Palestinian ‘collaborators’. Times Online. Retrieved from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7099074.ece.

Milton-Edwards, B. (2006). Contemporary politics in the Middle East. Padstow, Cornwall: Polity Press.

Pipes, D. (2009). Islamism 2.0. Jerusalem Post. Retrieved from http://www.danielpipes.org/7770/islamism.

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