Hamas after Shaykh Yasin and Rantisi
This article paints a broad canvas of Hamas after almost four years of intifada and a relentless multipronged Israeli-U.S. assault against it. The movement’s views and strategies are discussed with regard to suicide attacks, the intra-Palestinian dialogue and cease-fire negotiations, and conditions for a peace settlement. While Israel’s assassination of leadership cadres has unquestionably dealt the movement a serious blow, the author argues that Hamas has nonetheless made three significant strategic gains:its “resistance project”—contrasting with PLO negotiations policies—has gained ground as a “national agenda”; Arab and Muslim support, fueled by rising outrage at U.S. and Israeli policies, has grown; and, most importantly, Palestinian support at the grass-roots level has never been greater, resulting in increased political weight even as the movement’s military strength has declined.
Khaled Hroub, the author of Hamas: Political Thought and Practice (Institute for Palestine Studies, 2000), is director of the Cambridge Arab Media Project associated with the Center of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Cambridge University.