Last updated on: 1/9/2009 12:09:00 PM PST

Is Hamas a Terrorist Organization?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Adam Davidson, Correspondent for International Business and Economics at National Public Radio (NPR), in a Dec. 6, 2006 NPR debate titled "Hamas: Government or Terrorist Organization?," offered the following:

"Hamas' charter calls for an Islamic-based Palestinian state on all of what is currently Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. The group has conducted violent action against Israeli military and civilian targets, including suicide bombings. Hamas has been named a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. It is supported by the governments of Syria and Iran and many wealthy private individuals in Saudi Arabia, among others in the Arab world...

Hamas' influence has grown. It ran its own shadow government and won great support among Palestinians because of the extensive network of social services it offered in the occupied territories. Hamas leaders are generally considered to be more effective and less corrupt than the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization]. In January 2006, Hamas won a dramatic victory in Palestinian elections and became the dominant political power in Palestine. Since that election, Israel and many Western powers have struggled with how best to interact with a group that is at once labeled terrorist and, at the same time, is the legitimately elected leadership of the Palestinian National Authority."

Dec. 6, 2006 - Adam Davidson 

The Hamas Charter in Article Seven of The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement, written on July 18, 1988, stated:

"...[T]he Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

'The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.' (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem)."

July 18, 1988 - Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) 

PRO (yes)

Tzipi Livni, LLB, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Acting Prime Minister of Israel, in a Jan. 4, 2009 telephone interview with CNN posted on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website section titled "Speeches and Interviews: CNN Telephone Interview with FM Livni," stated the following:

"We are not fighting the Palestinians - we are fighting Hamas, a terrorist organization which controls the Gaza Strip... we are trying to avoid civilian casualties... while Hamas is targeting our civilians...

There is one thing that frustrates me - idea of saying something like, 'Israel and Hamas need to stop; there must be a cease fire between Israel and Hamas.' It is not the same. I am not willing to put Israel and Hamas in the same package or even use the same wording because, as you said before, we are expressing our right of self-defense. Israel is a state which is a member of the international community, while Hamas is a terrorist organization."

Jan. 4, 2009 - Tzipi Livni, LLB 

George W. Bush, MBA, 43rd President of the United States, in his Jan. 2, 2009 weekly "President's Radio Address," stated the following:

"This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas -- a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel's destruction. Eighteen months ago, Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in a coup, and since then has imported thousands of guns and rockets and mortars.

Egypt brokered a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, but Hamas routinely violated that ceasefire by launching rockets into Israel. On December 19th, Hamas announced an end to the ceasefire and soon unleashed a barrage of rockets and mortars that deliberately targeted innocent Israelis -- an act of terror that is opposed by the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people, President Abbas...

I urge all parties to pressure Hamas to turn away from terror, and to support legitimate Palestinian leaders working for peace."

Jan. 2, 2009 - George W. Bush, MBA 

Daniel Ayalon, MBA, former Ambassador of Israel to the United States, in a Dec. 6, 2006 NPR debate titled "Hamas: Government or Terrorist Organization?," offered the following:

"They [Hamas] send terrorists strapped in explosives into markets, into pizzerias, into coffee shops, and into school buses and kindergartens. This is what they do. Are they a terrorist organization? If this is the definition of terror, they definitely are a terror organization."

Dec. 6, 2006 - Daniel Ayalon, MBA 

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), under "Terrorism: Questions and Answers," in a 2004 CFR website entry titled "Hamas, Islamic Jihad Palestinian Islamists," contained the following:

"Since the beginning of the current wave of Palestinian violence, in September 2000, Hamas has perpetrated 425 terrorist attacks of various kinds, in which 377 Israelis were murdered and 2,076 civilians and soldiers were wounded.

Since the beginning of the current wave of Palestinian violence, in September 2000, Hamas has perpetrated 52 suicide attacks, in which 288 Israelis were murdered and 1,646 were wounded."

2004 - Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) 

The US State Department, on its website under "Background Information on Foreign Terrorist Organizations," released Oct. 8, 1999 by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, stated:

"Various Hamas elements have used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel."

Oct. 8, 1999 - United States Department of State 

CON (no)

Tom Segev, PhD, Israeli Historian and Columnist for Haaretz, in a Dec. 29, 2008 Haaretz article titled "Trying to 'Teach Hamas a Lesson' Is Fundamentally Wrong," wrote the following:

"Hamas is not a terrorist organization holding Gaza residents hostage: It is a religious nationalist movement, and a majority of Gaza residents believe in its path."

Dec. 29, 2008 - Tom Segev, PhD 

Philip Greenspun, PhD, Professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a Jan. 4-6, 2009 "Philip Greenspun’s Weblog" posting titled "Hamas the Terrorist Group?," wrote the following:

"Hamas is described as a terrorist organization that has somehow occupied various buildings and rocket-launching sites throughout Gaza.  In fact, Hamas is the legitimately elected government of all of the Palestinians, having won 76 out of 132 seats in a 2006 election (the Fatah party won only 43)...

Despite a military conflict
with Fatah in 2007, which resulted in the loss of power in the West Bank, Hamas supposedly remains the popular choice of the average Palestinian and overwhelming the choice of Gazans when it comes to political representation.

don’t have to like what Hamas advocates or Hamas’s army does, but we should have the courage to accept their authority to speak and act for the Palestinians... Hamas is actually delivering on its campaign promises... to 'raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine' and to fight against Jews... Hamas has a more legitimate claim to political power than 95 percent of Arab rulers, very few of whom were elected..."

Jan. 4-6, 2009 - Philip Greenspun, PhD 

Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, PhD, Associate Director of Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University at the time of the quote, in a Dec. 6, 2006 NPR debate titled "Hamas: Government or Terrorist Organization?," offered the following:

"Hamas is no longer a terrorist organization. Hamas has moved to a political contest, which it has joined legitimately and has won fairly. More importantly, Hamas holds high levels of legitimacy among the majority of the people that it has been elected to represent and lead."

Dec. 6, 2006 - Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, PhD 

Vladimir Putin, JD, PhD, President of Russia, in a Feb. 9, 2006 Associated Press article was quoted:

"Hamas came to power ... as a result of democratic, legitimate elections and we must respect the choice of the Palestinian people. We have to look for solutions for the Palestinian people, for the international community, and also for Israel... We have never considered Hamas a terrorist organization. Having maintained our contacts with the organization Hamas we intend to invite their leaders to Moscow in the near future to search for solutions."

Feb. 9, 2006 - Vladimir Putin, JD, PhD 

Nawaf Obaid, MA, Adjunct Fellow with the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), as well as Managing Director of the Saudi National Security Assessment Project, in an interview with Bitterlemons International, posted on its website Mar. 2, 2006, stated:

"The other major point of disagreement is the definition of what constitutes terrorism. This was seen most recently a couple of days ago when US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came to Riyadh to ask the Saudi government to stop funding Hamas, because according to the US, Hamas is a terrorist organization. From the Saudi perspective, Hamas is not a terrorist organization. On the contrary it is a freedom fighting organization, and this was put very clearly to Secretary Rice. Her request for Saudi Arabia to stop funding and put on hold the new aid package to the Palestinian Authority leadership was therefore denied."

Mar. 2, 2006 - Nawaf Obaid, DPhil