The international community should continue with its restrictive policies towards Hamas even after it has recorded huge victories in the Palestinian’s election. Hamas has in the past declared its open hostility principle towards Israel its interests especially in the Middle East. Unless it openly denounces such ideas, it should continue to be treated as a terrorist group.
Hamas is also referred to as the Islamic Resistance Movement. It practices both party politics and militarism. It is its later mission that has seen its branding as a terrorist organization by nations such as United States, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Israel amongst others. The European Union has also blacklisted it for exhibiting terrorist tendencies. It is currently having its moment of glory in Palestine having recorded surprise wins in the parliamentary elections that astounded many especially across the western world (Levitt, Matthew, 2006).
The history of Hamas dates back to 1987. Its formation is known to have been inspired the Muslim brotherhood, a group reputed to have committed countless terrorist acts towards the Israelis. Hamas is said to have been formed by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin with a sole objective of annihilating the state of Israel and forcing its total withdrawal from the disputed Palestine territory.
This is what its charter stipulates. It is credited for having been the mastermind and perpetrator of violence against the Israelis and their interests all over the world, these acts are meted out with impunity only equaled to that of al Qaeda. Together with Al Qaeda, Hamas leads the list of the worst terrorist organizations in the world (James L. Gelvin, 2005).
After winning the elections in 2006 and assuming power, it issued a 10 year truce to Israel and vowing to let go temporarily, its suicide missions if the later withdrew from the disputed territories of Gaza, Jerusalem and West bank. This however was not the first truce as again in 2004, it had offered a truce if Israel could totally withdraw from the territories it captured during the Six Days War.
This truce however was not held for long as it attacked Israel later in August 2005. Hamas had opted out of the presidential election in 2005 running for the municipal ones where it took control of some important territories. In the parliamentary elections the following year, it was able to garner over 42 percent securing majority seats.
Hamas has been accusing Israel of violating the stipulations on the road map that had posited the formation of a Palestinian state, its feud is not limited to Israel only but also to the United States and is ready to wage terrorist attacks against the U.S in 2006 for example, a statement issued by the Hamas officials but later denied, urged the Muslims to target America and its interests all over the world, accusing it of providing financial and logistic support to the Israelis. Hamas officials though, have never owned up to any attack against the United States or to any other country apart from Israel (Lynfield, Ben, December 27, 2004).
Its Democratic election into power has thrown a spanner in the works complicating relations with major powers in the world as well as the neighboring countries in the Middle East. Major countries in the western world have always branded Hamas as a terrorist organization. Japan for instance froze all Hamas properties within its jurisdiction in 2005. Jordan has in turn outlawed it due to its terrorist activities. All this animosity is directed to a political and terrorist organization that according to polls conducted in 2007 enjoys over 65% of popular support of Palestinians.
The wide public support it has received stems from how it has initiated reforms in morale dilapidated country. It is rooting out massive corruption entrenched in the bureaucracy and order is being restored in the disputed territories. The bloody counter retaliations between the Hamas and Israel however continue, with both sides maintaining their hard stance.
With grim prospects for a peaceful co existence, the issue of Hamas leadership in the Palestine state remains a headache for the western countries. Hamas has initiated a number of attacks this year killing a handful and maiming many in the region. It has perfected the art of guerilla warfare employing it tactfully against Israel. It is also accused of executions within its file and rank and also against its key rival, the Fattah.
The United States however has been categorical in its stand even in the face of possible political realignments in the Palestine state. One state department spokesman said that the United States still maintains Hamas in its terrorist organizations’ list. The election has not changed this unless Hamas denounces its atrocious acts (Michael P. Arena, Bruce A. Arrigo, 2006).
It is more than apparent that the United States is dismayed by the results but was quick to praise the temporal peaceful coexistence of people in Palestine. It is interesting to note that the Bush administration was non committal of the elections in Palestine as the prospects of Hamas loosing seemed grim.
All this however is in the midst of reports in the media that the United States government together with president Mahmoud Abbas had planned to oust the Hamas leadership from the government. This was in an effort to overturn the gains made by Hamas. Hamas has been largely blaming the United States for funding and arming the Fattah combatants in its bid to water down its recent reigns (Tiebel, Amy, 2007).
Some nations in Europe are caught between a rock and a hard place. There is a need to legitimize the democratic process that brought Hamas to power but also these countries are wary of an organization that has been labeled a terrorist group. Europe is divided. Berlin and the United Kingdom are adamant that they will have no relations with the Hamas. Russia however on the other hand welcomed Hamas leaders in Moscow, Turkey has also followed suit.
Since its formation in 1987, Hamas has grown massively and seems to have stricken a chord with most Palestinians as evidenced in the latest elections. The greatest supporter of Hamas and financial bankroller is Iran. This is its vocal supporter but it has always denied claims of providing finances as alleged by the United States. The coming to power of the Hamas was met with elation from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran who vowed to back the country financially.
The United States claims that Hamas is funded by some Arab countries as well as private businessmen. Most of these countries maintain anti United States stand and are in support of any group that is likely to maintain hostility against Israel. The elevation of Hamas into power legitimizes the relations that Hamas may have had with those countries (Andersen, Mark, 2004).
Iran has vowed to commit funds to help the democratically elected government in Palestine. Most of those countries that support Hamas are doing so on the claims of strengthening democracy and seeing it as a solution to the disputes in Middle East.
It is obvious that the coming into power of Hamas has complicated the relations that most nations have had with it. Many are in a dilemma on whether to initiate diplomatic contacts with its members or to deal with the president directly. However putting into consideration what Hamas has always stood for, the stand by America and Germany is the way to go, no negotiations of any sort or diplomatic relations should be instituted until Hamas denounces its acts of terrorism and its stand against Israel.
Levitt, Matthew, 2006. Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, Yale University Press.
James L. Gelvin, 2005. The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War, Cambridge University Press.
Lynfield, Ben, December 27, 2004. Hamas gains grassroots edge, Christian Science Monitor.
Andersen, Mark, 2004. All the Power: Revolution Without Illusion, Punk Planet Books.
Tiebel, Amy, November 27, 2007. “Analysis: Tough Mideast Bargaining Ahead”, Associated Press.
Mark Weitzman, Steven Leonard Jacobs,2003. Dismantling the Big Lie: the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, KTAV Publishing House.
. Michael P. Arena, Bruce A. Arrigo,2006. The Terrorist Identity: Explaining the Terrorist Threat, NYU Press.