By Professor Shaul Mishal, Professor Avraham Sela

Since it emerged as a challenger to the PLO through the Palestinian Intifada, Hamas (the Islamic Resistance flow) has been linked within the public brain with terror and violence. Now Israeli specialists express that, opposite to its snapshot, Hamas is basically a social and political circulation, supplying broad group companies and responding consistently to political realities via bargaining and tool brokering. The authors carry the veil on Hamas's strategic decision-making equipment at all of the an important crossroads it has faced: the Intifada and the fight with the PLO, the Oslo accords and the institution of the Palestinian nationwide Authority, and the dilemmas surrounding the alternative among absolute Jihad opposed to Israel as opposed to the choice of managed violence.

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Extra resources for The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence

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Already in , Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, the founder and first president of al-MujammaÔ, ordered members of the organization to secretly gather firearms, which were then distributed among selected operatives. In , this effort was discovered by the Israeli military authorities, who also found weapons in the home of Sheikh Yasin himself. Yasin claimed that the weapons were intended for defense against rival Palestinian groups and not against Israel.  It was probably Israel’s exposure of the MujammaÔ’s new policy that led to Yasin’s decision in  to establish a security apparatus that would collect information about collaborators with Israeli intelligence.

According to its own historical narrative, Hamas evolved through four main stages: . –: Construction of the “hard core” of the MB in the Gaza Strip in the face of oppressive Israeli rule. . –: Geographical expansion through participation in professional associations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and institution building, notably al-MujammaÔ al-islami, al-JamÔiyya alislamiyya, and the Islamic University in Gaza. . –: Political influence through establishment of the mechanisms of action and preparation for armed struggle.

In  the MujammaÔ created the Young Women’s Islamic Association (JamÔiyyat al-shabbat al-muslimat) as another association for social action and mobilization. The MujammaÔ was composed of seven committees: preaching and guidance, welfare, education, charity, health, sport, and conciliation. Because the activities conducted by the MujammaÔ did not encompass all MB groups in the Gaza Strip, power struggles emerged over resources and social influence.  Social Orientation The MujammaÔ’s activities were directed inward, focusing on the longterm goal of reshaping the Muslim community.

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