Last updated on: 12/9/2015 4:34:05 PM PST

Is Hamas a Terrorist Organization?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in a July 11, 2014 article for titled "Profile: Hamas Palestinian Movement," wrote:

"Hamas is the largest of several Palestinian militant Islamist groups.

Its name is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, originating as it did in 1987 after the beginning of the first intifada, or Palestinian uprising, against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

Hamas is designated a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US, EU, Canada and Japan due to its long record of attacks and its refusal to renounce violence. Under the group's charter, Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel.

But to its supporters it is seen as a legitimate resistance movement."

July 11, 2014 - British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 

Lara Pham, MA, Editorial Assistant at the World Policy Journal at the time of the quote, in an Aug. 8, 2014 article for the World Policy Institute's blog titled "Terrorism and Charity: Defining Hamas," available from the World Policy Institute website, wrote:

"If not for the group's provision of key resources and social services, labeling Hamas as unequivocally and exclusively a terrorist organization would be accurate, all-encompassing. But what is one to make of this damning label when Hamas is in fact responsible for providing a fair amount of social services for Palestinians largely cut off from many resources?

To ignore the significant network of services offered by Hamas would be a mistake. Haim Malka, deputy director and senior fellow of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, found that that Hamas' extensive social and welfare programs have an annual budget between $50-70 million…

Hamas is not just a one-dimensional terrorist organization. It is also a group that takes on political, cultural, and social functions. All together, these aspects make Hamas a powerful community actor. Whether friend or foe, one cannot deny Hamas' social prowess."

Aug. 8, 2014 - Lara Pham, MA 

PRO (yes)

Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of Hamas cofounder Hassan Yousef, in a July 30, 2014 interview on Hannity reported in part in an article by Katie Pavlich for titled "Son of Hamas Founder Defends Fights Against Terror: 'Israel is Doing Them the Biggest Favor'," stated:

"Hamas movement is not a national movement and it's not a humanitarian organization. Hamas is a terrorist organization with a humanitarian face to it… Hamas organization is simply a terrorist organization…

How many Gaza wars are we going to witness in the future if we don't stop Hamas now? Israel is in the middle of the job. Let's help them. Let's support them disarm Hamas. Without disarming Hamas, Hamas will use children as shields, human shields in the future and there will be more wars."

July 30, 2014 - Mosab Hassan Yousef 

Yuval Steinitz, PhD, Minister of Intelligence of Israel at the time of the quote, in a June 30, 2014 statement to the press reported in part in an article by Michael Crowley for TIME titled "Israeli Official: Kidnapped Teen Murders Show Hamas Is Like ISIS," stated:

"This [the killing of three Israeli teenagers] is just a reminder that Hamas is a cruel terrorist organization that sent 100 suicide bombers, terrorists, into Israel in the past, and has now executed three teenagers, three young boys…

I don't see much difference between these Hamas terrorists and the people from ISIS who executed the Iraqi soldiers."

June 30, 2014 - Yuval Steinitz, PhD 

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in a June 5, 2014 Memo titled "Palestinian Unity Government a Setback for Peace," available from their website, wrote:

"Hamas is an unrepentant Islamist terrorist organization that has shown no signs of moderation or reform…

Hamas seized Gaza by force and now rules the territory through fear and the imposition of its version of Islamic law.

The Hamas charter, published a year after the organization's 1987 founding, is laced with anti-Semitism and racism, rejects peaceful efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and calls for the destruction of Israel through jihad. Hamas considers all of Israel to be occupied territory."

June 5, 2014 - American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 

Leah Karchmer, MA, Emerson Fellow at StandWithUs at the time of the quote, in a Nov. 30, 2012 article for Policy.Mic titled "Palestine Facts: Hamas Is a Terrorist Organization, Wake Up and Read Its Charter," wrote:

"Hamas is a terrorist organization with genocidal pursuits. This is not the interpretation of an American Jew or the accusation of a Zionist. This is a statement of fact based on the denotative meaning of terrorism and Hamas' own declared mission. As it is stated, in no uncertain terms, within their own charter, 'Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it... The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews (killing the Jews) when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.' Like I said, very explicit about their intentions."

Nov. 30, 2012 - Leah Karchmer, MA 

Ted Cruz, JD, US Senator (R-TX), in a June 30, 2014 press release titled "Hamas Is a Terrorist Organization with Blood on Its Hands," available from his website, wrote:

"Hamas is, unequivocally, a terrorist organization with blood on its hands that must be condemned on the world stage. There should be no path forward for Hamas to have any role in any future government formed by the Palestinian Authority, and no nation should accommodate, legitimize, or negotiate with this group that engages in the killing of innocent civilians. The Palestinian Authority should immediately renounce Hamas and actively work to expel Hamas from civil society."

June 30, 2014 - Ted Cruz, JD 

Robert Menendez, JD, US Senator (D-NJ) and Chair of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time of the quote, in a July 10, 2014 US Senate Foreign Relations Committee press release titled "Menendez, Graham, Ayotte, and Schumer Introduce Resolution Expressing US Support for Israel," stated:

"It is an appalling but often-used tactic by Hamas to launch rockets indiscriminately at Israeli population centers. Nobody should be surprised that a terrorist organization is once again resorting to terror to harm innocent Israelis, and exposing Palestinian civilians to danger while doing so. Hamas is a terrorist organization that rejects a two-state solution and celebrates the kidnapping and murder of innocent civilians."

July 10, 2014 - Robert Menendez, JD 

The United States Department of State, in a document titled "Appendix B Background Information on Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations," available from their website (accessed Nov. 24, 2015), wrote:

"Various HAMAS elements have used both violent and political means— including terrorism—to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in Israel… HAMAS's strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. First designated [a terrorist organization] in October 1997…

HAMAS terrorists, especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks—including large-scale suicide bombings—against Israeli civilian and military targets…

HAMAS currently limits its terrorist operations to Israeli military and civilian targets in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel. The group's leadership is dispersed throughout the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with a few senior leaders residing in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and the Gulf States."

Nov. 24, 2015 - United States Department of State 

The UK Home Office, in an Oct. 30, 2015 document titled "Proscribed Terrorist Organisations," available from, wrote:

"Under the Terrorism Act 2000, the Home Secretary may proscribe an organisation if she believes it is concerned in terrorism, and it is proportionate to do. For the purposes of the Act, this means that the organisation:
  • commits or participates in acts of terrorism;
  • prepares for terrorism;
  • promotes or encourages terrorism (including the unlawful glorification of terrorism); or
  • is otherwise concerned in terrorism…
Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades - Proscribed March 2001 Hamas aims to end Israeli occupation in Palestine and establish an Islamic state."

Oct. 30, 2015 - UK Home Office 

CON (no)

Mahmoud al-Zahar, MD, Cofounder of Hamas, in a Feb. 20, 2014 interview with Shlomi Eldar published in an article for the Al-Monitor titled "Hamas Official Says 'Abbas Doesn't Represent Anyone'," stated:

"The whole issue of terrorism is an excuse for the United States and the West. The entire Arab world knows that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. It is struggling for land. We did not hijack planes like the PLO or engage in terrorism like in Syria or Lebanon or other places. President Jimmy Carter sat down with us in 2005 and even later. Would a president of the United States sit down and talk to us if we were a terrorist organization?"

Feb. 20, 2014 - Mahmoud al-Zahar, MD 

Saeb Erekat, PhD, Member of the Palestinian Parliament for Jericho, in an Apr. 5, 2014 conference speech reported in part in an article by David Lev for Arutz Sheva titled "Erekat: Hamas Not, and Never Was, a Terror Group," stated:

"I hereby declare, in the make of President Mahmoud Abbas and the directorate of Fatah, that Hamas is a Palestinian movement, and is not and never was a terror group."

Apr. 5, 2014 - Saeb Erekat, PhD 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, in a May 13, 2011 interview with Charlie Rose for PBS, quoted in part in an article by Tovah Lazaroff for the Jerusalem Post titled "Erdogan: 'Hamas Is Not a Terrorist Organization'," stated:

"I don't see Hamas as a terror organization. Hamas is a political party. And it is an organization. It is a resistance movement trying to protect its country under occupation. So we should not mix terrorist organizations with such an organization."

May 13, 2011 - Recep Tayyip Erdogan 

Ariana Melamed, journalist and literary critic for at the time of the quote, in an Aug. 21, 2014 op-ed for titled "Hamas Is Not a Terror Organization, but a State in the Making," wrote:

"Hamas is not a terror organization. It's easier for us to call it that because the classification dwarfs it and aggrandizes us, and allows us to treat it as a pest that must be eliminated, rather than a political player that must be taken into account when examining the balance of power and fear in our neighborhood…

Hamas is not a terror organization. It is a well-disciplined army of paid soldiers. It's an education system saturated with incitement. It is hospitals and police, creches and manufacturing, tunnels and parks, prisons and government. It has a military wing and a political wing and they're incredibly coordinated. No targeted assassination so far has been able to put a dent in Hamas' determination or in its ability to hurt us as it sees fit. Whether we like it or not, it is a state coming into being, or at least a part of one, if our rosy dreams come true and Mahmoud Abbas manages to take charge and curb his Gazan brothers."

Aug. 21, 2014 - Ariana Melamed 

Ibrahim Khraishi, Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, in a Dec. 17, 2014 interview with Lucia Walton published in an article for Deutsche Welle titled "Palestinian Statehood: a Reality or Diplomatic Stunt?," stated:

"For us, Hamas is not a terrorist organization. They are fighting for their independence and against the occupation. We are not terrorists. This is an idea that came from journalists who tried to convince the international community that those Palestinians are terrorists attacking civilians… we want Hamas to be a political player in terms of reconciliation, governance, the reconstruction of Gaza, and the end of Palestinian suffering, especially after the catastrophe last summer."

Dec. 17, 2014 - Ibrahim Khraishi 

Zahir Mahmood, Islamic scholar at the As-Suffa Institute (UK), in a Mar. 21, 2009 speech at a meeting of the Viva Palestina group in Birmingham (UK) available via YouTube under the title "Zahir Mahmood – 'Hamas Are Freedom Fighters'," stated:

"Hamas are not terrorists, they're freedom fighters. They're defending their country. How is it justified that our boys, our soldiers, can go to Iraq and Afghanistan and occupy other countries which results in the death of thousands of indigenous people of that country and they are heroes? But Palestinians who are defending their own land, 60 years living in an open concentration camp, are terrorists? How does that work?"

Mar. 21, 2009 - Zahir Mahmood 

Richard Sudan, freelance writer for the Independent and, in an Aug. 5, 2014 opinion piece for titled "The War on Gaza Continues as Does the Siege on the Media and War on Truth," wrote:

"The state of Israel does exist. Not only does it exist, but it is expanding, continuing to steal Palestinian land while demolishing Palestinian homes, in addition to strangling the life from the Palestinians and keeping them in an economic choke hold, while all the time conveniently labeling any resistance as 'terrorism'. Hamas are not terrorists, they are the elected government. End of story…

You'll remember that they used to call the great Nelson Mandela a terrorist. The great Madiba, who helped lead the path in breaking the apartheid system in South Africa, and who once said, speaking about the apartheid system Palestinians are living in, 'Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians'."

Aug. 5, 2014 - Richard Sudan 

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, Assistant Foreign Minister for International Affairs of Qatar, in a Mar. 11, 2015 interview with Qatari Alarab reported on in part by the Middle East Monitor in an article titled "Hamas Is a Resistance Movement, Not a Terrorist Group, Insists Qatar," stated:

"Hamas uses its right to resistance, as it is a resistance movement in an occupied country… Its acts are completely different to terrorist acts."

Mar. 11, 2015 - Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani 

Hassan Rouhani, PhD, Head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council at the time of the quote, in an undated interview with ABC News titled "Exclusive Interview with Iranian Adviser," available from the ABC News website (accessed Dec. 2, 2015), stated:

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has never had a relationship with terrorists and never supported them. If your definition of terrorist groups are Hezbollah and Hamas, they are not terrorists. They are the kinds of groups who are fighting for the freedom of land."

Dec. 2, 2015 - Hassan Rouhani, PhD