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Title: Hamas: a historical and political background
Authors: Abu-Amr, Ziad 
Keywords: Hamas - History;Palestine - Politics and government, 1987-
Issue Date: 1993
Publisher: Journal of Palestine Studies
Abstract: Hamas-the Islamic Resistance Movement-was born of the intifada, which marked the beginning of the true political revival of the Islamic forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the face of Israeli occupation on the one hand, and the national secular forces led by the PLO on the other. Up until that time, the most important Islamic movement in the occupied territories, the Muslim Brotherhood, had shied away from active resistance against the Israeli occupation, a decision that stood in the way of its full development as a popular force. This situation was suddenly to change with the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising, which led the Muslim Brotherhood to play an active role in the resistance for the first time. This it did through Hamas, the organization it created from its own ranks expressly for that purpose. It was thus that the Islamic movement, after many years in existence, was able to emerge as the first true challenge ever posed in the occupied territories to the dominant nationalist trend. The new force-for Hamas soon overshadowed its parent organization- now prevails in a number of localities, especially the Gaza Strip, with a magnitude that parallels that of Fateh, the largest of the PLO factions. Its emergence has brought about a state of imbalance in the political forces that had held sway for decades. Moreover, the developing rivalry between the Islamtrend led by Hamas and the national secular trend under the PLO may not cease in the event that the Israeli occupation ends, since what is at stake in this rivalry is nothing less than the leadership, the identity, and the future direction of the Palestinian people.
DOI: 10.2307/2538077
Appears in Collections:Fulltext Publications

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