Hamas Doctrine: Detest Israel – Part II

Hamas Doctrine: Detest Israel  –  Part II of three parts


On Israel and Israel’s illegitimacy Anyone who believes that Hamas’ current fundamental beliefs are flexible enough to recognize Israel or that the organization will give up arms as a long-term political concession is simply naïve. As it has in the past Hamas may accept a tahdi’a or calming down of tensions, or even a temporary truce or hudna, negotiated by a third party, but for it to accept Israel as a reality is totally contrary to its ideological outlook. “Removing/ending occupation” for Hamas means Israel’s destruction.

Just as al-Qaeda seeks the total destruction of western democracies, Hamas seeks Israel’s total demise.


Since its inception in 1988, Hamas has been crystal clear about its opposition to Zionism and Israel. It opposes any kind of negotiations or agreements that recognize Israel’s reality. Its more extreme spokesmen regularly offer incendiary remarks about Jews. Hamas has opposed all agreements and cooperation which either the PLO or the Palestinian Authority have signed with Israel. Hamas opposes any Palestinian or other Arab leader or state that recognizes Israel or Jews as a national identity. Hamas has accepted ceasefires with Israel through intermediaries in order to “buy time,” rearm and refurbish its capacity to rule, and to fight another day, but never to move toward acceptance or recognition of Israel. Over time, key leaders like Khaled Meshal, Ismail Haniyeh, Mahmoud al-Zahhar and others have been crystal clear that neither they nor Hamas will disarm nor give up militant action. They believe that all of the land west of the Jordan River belongs to them. Hamas does not equivocate in its outlook about its vision for tomorrow; all of its horizons require Israel’s destruction. Hamas seeks support from virtually any external source that will provide it diplomatic support, arms, training, and funding. The second collection of comments, like the previous one and the subsequent one is remarkable for the consistency in views expressed by its leaders who remain true to the contents stipulated in Hamas’s August 1988 Charter.

Hamas – on Israel and Israel’s illegitimacy – Part II November 1994: “The state of Israel has no right to exist over the land of Palestine. Recognizing the legitimacy of Israel is a disavowal of our people’s right. We have been against the legitimacy of the occupation from the beginning. The entire land is owned by our people. We do not mind if the Jews want to live on our land. However, we will not agree whatsoever to live under their flag and under their control.” Interview with ‘Abdallah al-Shami, official spokesman for the Islamic Jihad Movement in the Gaza Strip, Al-Muharrir (Paris), November 21, 1994.

August 1996: “All the Zionist political forces are extremist, since they practice aggressive occupation in Palestine and seek to realize the Zionist dreams at the expense of the rights of our Palestinian people. As for us in Hamas, we have repeatedly affirmed that the operations of our holy strugglers in the al‑Qassam Battalions and their heroic suicide exploits fall within the context of the natural right of movement and our people’s legitimate right to resist occupation and respond to its crimes and acts of aggression against our people, our sanctities, and our land. Hamas refuses to base its vision and future course on factors that it does not control and on probabilities that are dependent on the enemy. It would be an act of the utmost impotence for us to await a solution and pin hopes on our enemy, leaving the reins of initiative in his hands to draw the future course in the region. This, regrettably, is exactly what has been done by the Palestinian Authority [PA] and many of the Arab sides in the region.” Interview with Khaled Meshal, then Deputy Chief of the Hamas Political Bureau, Filastin al-Muslimah, August 1996, pp. 19-21.

April 1997: “Jerusalem is the head of the Islamic cultural project, and it is also the head of the Israeli cultural project. The conflict over it will continue until it returns to its legitimate owners. I do not believe Israel will relinquish Jerusalem at the negotiation table. It is noted that the peace process and the Oslo Agreement are dying, and all that remains for us to do is arrange for its funeral and burial, which means that the peace plan has failed for one single reason: The Israeli mentality does not understand the language of dialogue, nor does it respect anyone, because its arrogance is reliant on its military supremacy and US aid.” Interview with Shaykh Abdullah al-Shami, Gaza Hamas leader of the Islamic Jihad Movement in the Gaza Strip, on Jerusalem and Jihad, quoted from London Al-Sharq al-Awsat, 11 April 1997, p. 3; quoted in Daily Report, FBIS-NESA, April 11, 1997.

June 2006: “The right to return is an individual right. No representation of the Palestinians, neither the various organizations nor the government nor the president are entitled to relinquish this right. Every refugee must be able to decide on his or her own whether he or she wants to return home. So they would also be able to decide whether they prefer to move to the Palestinian state to be established and being compensated financially? …Do you expect the Palestinians to sell their homeland and their fatherland for money?” Palestinian Prime Minister Isma’il Haniyah, Der Spiegel (Internet Version-WWW), June 13, 2006.

October 2006: “Israel is a vile entity that has been planted in our soil, and has no historical, religious or cultural legitimacy. We cannot normalize our relations with this entity. The history of this region has proven [time and again] that occupation is temporary. Thousands of years ago, the Romans occupied this land and [eventually] left. The Persians, Crusaders, and English [also] came and went. The Zionists have come, and they too will leave. [We say] no to recognizing Israel, regardless of the price we may have to pay [for our refusal].” Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahhar, al-Ayyam, October 21, 2006.

July 2014: “Our doctrine in fighting you (the Jews) is that we will totally exterminate you. We will not leave a single one of you alive, because you are alien usurpers of the land and eternal mercenaries. You are the mercenaries of all times. Research the history, my brothers. Wherever the Jews lived, they spread corruption. Oh Muslims, didn’t you notice that Allah said: ‘They  spread in THE land…’ The definite article in ‘THE land’ means the entire land. They spread in the land corruption, and Allah loves not the corrupters.” A sermon from a Deir Al-Balah Mosque in Gaza, Al-Aqsa TV, (Hamas TV channel) aired on Friday, July 25, 2014, ttp://

Note on sources:  This collection of remarks made by Hamas officials, their representatives, or spokesmen was taken from a variety of sources. Going back to the 1990s, some of the material here was translated from various languages by the US Department of Commerce’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Other items were collected from authoritative Arab sources; others were read on the internet.  Obviously, this list of remarks is not exhaustive, but it is representative. They are all indicative of the uncompromising beliefs and fierce ideology held by Hamas adherents.

Part I  Hamas on opposing agreements, negotiations, or recognition of Israel –August 3, 2014

Next – Part III  Hamas principles for the liberation of Palestine and jihad against Zionism 

About the Author
Ken Stein is Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History and Political Science at Emory University. He is the author of Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1999 and with Ambassador Samuel W. Lewis, Making Peace Among Arabs and Israelis Lessons from Fifty Years of Negotiating Experience, 1991.
Related Topics
Related Posts