Public freedoms and citizen rights.
"Achieve equality before the law among citizens in rights and duties; bring security to all citizens and protect their properties and assure their safety against arbitrary arrest, torture, or revenge; stress the culture of dialogue ... ; support the press and media institutions and maintain the right of journalists to access and to publish information; maintain freedom and independence of professional syndicates and preserve the rights of their membership".
Main articles: Fatah–Hamas conflict and Battle of Gaza (2007)
Hamas rally in Bethlehem
After the formation of the Hamas-led cabinet on March 20, 2006, tensions between Fatah and Hamas militants progressively rose in the Gaza strip as Fatah commanders refused to take orders from the government while the Palestinian Authority initiated a campaign of demonstrations, assassinations and abductions against Hamas, which led to Hamas responding. Israeli intelligence warned Mahmoud Abbas that Hamas had planned to kill him at his office in Gaza. According to a Palestinian source close to Abbas, Hamas considers president Abbas to be a barrier to its complete control over the Palestinian Authority and decided to kill him. In a statement to Al Jazeera, Hamas leader Mohammed Nazzal, accused Abbas of being party to besieging and isolating the Hamas-led government.
On June 9, 2006, during an Israeli artillery operation, an explosion occurred on a busy Gaza beach, killing eight Palestinian civilians. It was assumed that Israeli shellings were responsible for the killings, but Israeli government officials denied this. Hamas formally withdrew from its 16-month ceasefire on June 10, taking responsibility for the subsequent Qassam rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel.
On June 25, two Israeli soldiers were killed and another, Gilad Shalit, abducted following an incursion by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Popular Resistance Committees and Army of Islam. In response, the Israeli military launched Operation Summer Rains three days later, to secure the release of the kidnapped soldier, arresting 64 Hamas officials. Among them were 8 Palestinian Authority cabinet ministers and up to 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, The arrests, along with other events, effectively prevented the Hamas-dominated legislature from functioning during most of its term.
On February 2007 Saudi-sponsored negotiations in Mecca produced agreement on a signed by Mahmoud Abbas on behalf of Fatah and Khaled Mashal on behalf of Hamas. The new government was called on to achieve Palestinian national goals as approved by the Palestine National Council, the clauses of the Basic Law and the National Reconciliation Document (the "Prisoners' Document") as well as the decisions of the Arab summit.
In March 2007, the Palestinian Legislative Council established a national unity government, with 83 representatives voting in favor and three against. Government ministers were sworn in by Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, at a ceremony held simultaneously in Gaza and Ramallah. In June that year, renewed fighting broke out between Hamas and Fatah. In the course of the June 2007 Battle of Gaza, Hamas exploited the near total collapse of Palestinian Authority forces in Gaza, to seize control of Gaza, ousting Fatah officials. President Mahmoud Abbas then dismissed the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government. and outlawed the Hamas militia. At least 600 Palestinians died in fighting between Hamas and Fatah. Human Rights Watch, a U.S.-based group, accused both sides in the conflict of torture and war crimes.
Human Rights Watch estimates several hundred Gazans were "maimed" and tortured in the aftermath of the Gaza War. 73 Gazan men accused of "collaborating" had their arms and legs broken by "unidentified perpetrators" and 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel, who had escaped from Gaza's main prison compound after Israel bombed the facility, were executed by Hamas security officials in the first days of the conflict.
Hamas security forces attacked hundreds Fatah officials who supported Israel. Human Rights Watch interviewed one such person:
"There were eight of us sitting there. We were all from Fatah. Then three masked militants broke in. They were dressed in brown camouflage military uniforms; they all had guns. They pointed their guns at us and cursed us, then they began beating us with iron rods, including a 10-year-old boy whom they hit in the face. They said we were "collaborators" and "unfaithful".
They beat me with iron sticks and gun butts for 15 minutes. They were yelling: "You are happy that Israel is bombing us!" until people came out of their houses, and they withdrew.
In March 2012 Mahmoud Abbas stated that there were no political differences between Hamas and Fatah as they had reached agreement on a joint political platform and on a truce with Israel. Commenting on relations with Hamas, Abbas revealed in an interview with Al Jazeera that "We agreed that the period of calm would be not only in the Gaza Strip, but also in the West Bank," adding that "We also agreed on a peaceful popular resistance [against Israel], the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and that the peace talks would continue if Israel halted settlement construction and accepted our conditions."
Main articles: Gaza war and United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
On June 17, 2008, Egyptian mediators announced that an informal truce had been agreed to between Hamas and Israel. Hamas agreed to cease rocket attacks on Israel, while Israel agreed to allow limited commercial shipping across its border with Gaza, barring any breakdown of the tentative peace deal; Hamas also hinted that it would discuss the release of Gilad Shalit. Israeli sources state that Hamas also committed itself to enforce the ceasefire on the other Palestinian organizations. Even before the truce was agreed to, some on the Israeli side were not optimistic about it, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin stating in May 2008 that a ground incursion into Gaza was unavoidable and would more effectively quell arms smuggling and pressure Hamas into relinquishing power.
Damage to a Beersheba kindergarten from a Grad rocket fired from Gaza
While Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire, the lull was sporadically violated by other groups, sometimes in defiance of Hamas. For example, on June 24 Islamic Jihad launched rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot; Israel called the attack a grave violation of the informal truce, and closed its border crossings with Gaza. On November 4, 2008, Israeli forces, in an attempt to stop construction of a tunnel, killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid inside the Gaza Strip. Hamas responded by resuming rocket attacks, a total of 190 rockets in November according to Israel's military.
With the six-month truce officially expired on December 19, Hamas launched 50 to more than 70 rockets and mortars into Israel over the next three days, though no Israelis were injured. On December 21, Hamas said it was ready to stop the attacks and renew the truce if Israel stopped its "aggression" in Gaza and opened up its border crossings.
On December 27 and 28, Israel implemented Operation Cast Lead against Hamas. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said "We warned Hamas repeatedly that rejecting the truce would push Israel to aggression against Gaza." According to Palestinian officials, over 280 people were killed and 600 were injured in the first two days of airstrikes. Most were Hamas police and security officers, though many civilians also died. According to Israel, militant training camps, rocket-manufacturing facilities and weapons warehouses that had been pre-identified were hit, and later they attacked rocket and mortar squads who fired around 180 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities. Chief of Gaza police force Tawfiq Jabber, head of the General Security Service Salah Abu Shrakh, senior religious authority and security officer Nizar Rayyan, and Interior Minister Said Seyam were among those killed during the fighting. Although Israel sent out thousands of cell-phone messages urging residents of Gaza to leave houses where weapons may be stored, in an attempt to minimise civilian casualties, some residents complained there was nowhere to go because many neighborhoods had received the same message. Israeli bombs landed close to civilian structures such as schools, and some alleged that Israel was deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians.
Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire on January 17, 2009. Hamas responded the following day by announcing a one-week ceasefire to give Israel time to withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip. Israeli, Palestinian, and third-party sources disagreed on the total casualty figures from the Gaza war, and the number of Palestinian casualties who were civilians. In November 2010, a senior Hamas official acknowledged that up to 300 fighters were killed and "In addition to them, between 200 and 300 fighters from the Al-Qassam Brigades and another 150 security forces were martyred." These new numbers reconcile the total with those of the Israeli military, which originally said were 709 "terror operatives" killed.
After the Gaza War
On August 16, 2009, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal stated that the organization is ready to open dialogue with the Obama administration because its policies are much better than those of former U.S. president George W. Bush: "As long as there's a new language, we welcome it, but we want to see not only a change of language, but also a change of policies on the ground. We have said that we are prepared to cooperate with the US or any other international party that would enable the Palestinians to get rid of occupation." Despite this, an August 30, 2009 speech during a visit to Jordan in which Mashal expressed support for the Palestinian right of return was interpreted by David Pollock of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy as a sign that "Hamas has now clearly opted out of diplomacy." In an interview on May 2010, Mashal said that if a Palestinian state with real sovereignty was established under the conditions he set out, on the borders of 1967 with its capital Jerusalem and with the right of return, that will be the end of the Palestinian resistance, and then the nature of any subsequent ties with Israel would be decided democratically by the Palestinians.
In July 2009, Khaled Meshal, Hamas's political bureau chief, stated Hamas's willingness to cooperate with a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, which included a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, provided that Palestinian refugees be given the right to return to Israel and that East Jerusalem be recognized as the new state's capital.
In 2011, after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, Hamas distanced itself from the Syrian regime and its members began leaving Syria. Where once there were "hundreds of exiled Palestinian officials and their relatives", that number shrunk to "a few dozen". In 2012, Hamas publicly announced its support for the Syrian opposition. This prompted Syrian state TV to issue a "withering attack" on the Hamas leadership. Khaled Meshal said that Hamas had been "forced out" of Damascus because of its disagreements with the Syrian regime. In late October, Syrian Army soldiers shot dead two Hamas leaders in Daraa refugee camp. On November 5, 2012, the Syrian state security forces shut down all Hamas offices in the country. In January 2013, another two Hamas members were found dead in Syria's Husseinieh camp. Activists said the two had been arrested and executed by state security forces. In 2013, it was reported that the military wing of Hamas had begun training units of the Free Syrian Army.
In 2013, after "several intense weeks of indirect three-way diplomacy between representatives of Hamas, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority", no agreement was reached. Also, intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks stalled and, as a result, during Obama's visit to Israel, Hamas launched five rocket strikes on Israel. In November, Isra Almodallal was appointed the first spokeswoman of the group.
As of 2009 the Council on Foreign Relations estimates Hamas's annual budget at $70 million.
In the early 2000s, the largest backer of Hamas was Saudi Arabia, with over 50% of its funds coming from that country, mainly through Islamic charity organizations. An earlier estimate by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimated a $50 million annual budget, mostly supplied by private charitable associations but with $12 million supplied directly by Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia, and a further $3 million from Iran. In 2002, a Saudi Arabian charity, the Saudi Council to Support the Palestinian Intefada run by then Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz stated the council will give the families of 102 Hamas militants killed, including eight suicide bombers, $5,340 each.
Saudi owned al-Taqwa Bank has been identified of holding money for Hamas as early as 1997. Jamie C. Zarate, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, told Congress that 60 million was moved to Hamas accounts with Al Taqwa bank. The Al Taqwa bank has also been used to launder funds for Al Qaeda. The funding by Saudi Arabia continued despite Saudi pledges to stop funding groups such as Hamas that have used violence, and its recent denouncements of Hamas' lack of unity with Fatah. According to the U.S. State Department, Hamas is funded by Iran, Palestinian expatriates, and "private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other Arab states". Saudi spokesman Adel Al Jubeir said, "no Saudi government money goes to Hamas, directly or indirectly." He added that it "very likely" that "some Saudi individuals" have provided financial support to Hamas.
In 2004, reports citing unidentified U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials indicated that Saudi funding for Hamas had been curtailed and replaced by other regional sponsors. In June 2004 testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, former Treasury Department General Counsel David Aufhauser quoted "informed intelligence sources" as saying, "for whatever reason, the money going to Hamas from Saudi Arabia has substantially dried up." Aufhauser indicated that Saudi financial support "has been supplemented by money from Iran and Syria flowing through even more dangerous rejectionist groups in the West Bank". Similarly, Israeli daily Maariv quoted in 2004 an unidentified Israeli military official as saying that "for the first time in years the Saudis have begun to reduce the flow of funds to Hamas and to the Gaza Strip." This source attributes this change largely to U.S. pressure on Saudi Arabia to stem the flow of funding to Hamas and terrorist organizations. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), another reported funding source for Hamas is through the 21,000 Arabs of Palestinian and Lebanese descent who live in the Foz do Iguaçu area of the tri-border region of Latin America. According to Paraguayan Interior Minister Julio César Fanego, they have donated "something between $50 and $500 million" to 16 Arab extremist groups between 1999 and 2001, in amounts ranging from $500 to $2,000.
In the late 1980s, 10% of all Hamas funding came Islamic Republic of Iran. Later, from 1993 to 2006, Iran provided Hamas with approximately US$30 million annually. More recent assessments indicate that Iranian funding has increased significantly between 2006 and 2009, to hundreds of millions of Euros per year. After 2009, sanctions on Iran made funding difficult, forcing Hamas instead to rely on religious donations by individuals in the West Bank, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Since June 2011, funding from the Islamic Republic of Iran has been cut to show "displeasure at Hamas's failure to hold public rallies in support of President [Bashar al-] Assad" during the Syrian civil war, and funding from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has been cut so the Muslim Brotherhood can diverts funds "to support Arab Spring revolts". The shortages have meant that Gaza's 40,000 civil service and security employees were not paid July 2011.
Hamas-linked charities in 2010 invested heavily in Gaza business ventures, with the condition that much of revenue stream from those ventures go to Hamas-linked charitable purposes in Gaza. Generally, Hamas and its members have increasingly dominated the Gaza economy, in particular since the 2006 Israel-led blockade of Gaza and Gaza elections.
Gaza domestic funding
Hamas approved a 540-million-dollar government budget for 2010 with up to 90% coming from "undisclosed" foreign aid, which includes funding from Iran and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood according to western intelligence agencies. Due to the Gaza blockade, Hamas still faces a financial crisis. With a bureaucracy of around 30,000 staff, the organisation is growing faster than can be handled, with salaries being delayed or prioritised for the lowest paid. To fund its budget, Hamas has raised new taxes on businesses and imposed a 14.5% tax on luxury goods smuggled through the tunnels. Gaza businessmen have accused Hamas of profiting from the blockade and using these taxes to buy large tracts of land and private buildings for public facilities in competition to established businesses.
In August 2011, the U.S State Department threatened to cut 100 million dollars in aid it sends to the Gaza Strip if Hamas continues to insist upon auditing American foreign aid organizations after Hamas suspended operations of the International Medical Corps following the group's refusal to submit to an on-site audit. Most foreign charities submit their own audits to the Interior Ministry in Ramallah. Charities must be audited by law, possibly to ensure money is not diverted for political or intelligence-gathering purposes but as the U.S. government forbids direct contact with Hamas, the action prompted Washington to issue the threat via a third party. Aid provided by American and other foreign groups goes to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, where most of the 1.6 million residents are refugees.
A U.S. official based in the region said "USAID-funded partner organizations operating in Gaza are forced by Hamas's actions to suspend their assistance work. (They) were put on hold effective August 12." According to the official, Hamas demanded access to files and records of NGOs, which would reveal financial and administrative information, details of staff members and information on beneficiaries. He said Hamas shut down IMC and USAID after the U.S. objected to "unwarranted audits". Hamas administration official Taher al-Nono said Hamas had a right to monitor their work in the territory but an understanding had been reached that would allow independent auditing teams to inspect the files of NGOs.
A day after the U.S. announced it was suspending financial aid to Gaza, Hamas officials said they had reached an agreement with the United States that would allow USAID to continue operations.
In August 2011, the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip imposed new travel restrictions on Palestinians active in non-governmental organizations by requiring them to provide details of the trip to the ministry in what the Palestinian NGO Network regards as another Hamas attempt to control and hamper them. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights condemned the new laws. Tharut al Bic, head of the interior ministry's NGO department, stated, "the new instructions are intended to make it easier for travellers to better organize their trip and to preserve order." Hamas requires sick people wishing to leave the Gaza Strip to submit applications and meet various conditions, in addition to restrictions Israel imposes on Palestinians leaving Gaza.
In 2005, Hamas announced its intention to launch an experimental TV channel, Al-Aqsa TV. The station was launched on January 7, 2006, less than three weeks before the Palestinian legislative elections. It has shown television programs, including some children's television, which deliver anti-semitic messages. Hamas has stated that the television station is "an independent media institution that often does not express the views of the Palestinian government headed by Ismail Haniyeh or of the Hamas movement," and that Hamas does not hold anti-semitic views.
In the Gaza Strip
Main article: Islamization of the Gaza Strip
From 1987 to 1991, during the first intifada, Hamas campaigned for the wearing of the hijab alongside other measures, including insisting women stay at home and be segregated from men, and the promotion of polygamy. In the course of this campaign, women who chose not to wear the hijab were verbally and physically harassed, with the result that the hijab was being worn 'just to avoid problems on the streets'.
Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, some of its members have attempted to impose Islamic dress or the hijab head covering on women. Also, the government's "Islamic Endowment Ministry" has deployed Virtue Committee members to warn citizens of the dangers of immodest dress, card playing, and dating. However, there are no government laws imposing dress and other moral standards, and the Hamas education ministry reversed one effort to impose Islamic dress on students. There has also been successful resistance to attempts by local Hamas officials to impose Islamic dress on women.
Hamas officials deny having any plans to impose Islamic law, one legislator stating that "What you are seeing are incidents, not policy," and that Islamic law is the desired standard "but we believe in persuasion". The Hamas education ministry reversed one effort to impose Islamic dress on students. In March 2010, the BBC interviewed five "middle-class" women in Gaza City in March 2010, and all indicated there had been little or no change toward more conservative dress and mores.
In 2013, UNRWA canceled its annual marathon in Gaza after Hamas rulers prohibited women from participating in the race.
In the West Bank
In 2005, the human rights organization Freemuse released a report titled "Palestine: Taliban-like attempts to censor music", which said that Palestinian musicians feared that harsh religious laws against music and concerts will be imposed since Hamas group scored political gains in the Palestinian Authority local elections of 2005.
The attempt by Hamas to dictate a cultural code of conduct in the 1980s and early 1990s led to a violent fighting between different Palestinian sectors. Hamas members reportedly burned down stores that stocked videos they deemed indecent and destroyed books they described as "heretical".
In 2005, an outdoor music and dance performance in Qalqiliya were suddenly banned by the Hamas led municipality, for the reason that such an event would be forbidden by Islam, or "Haram". The municipality also ordered that music no longer be played in the Qalqiliya zoo, and mufti Akrameh Sabri issued a religious edict affirming the municipality decision. In response, the Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish warned that "There are Taliban-type elements in our society, and this is a very dangerous sign."
The Palestinian columnist Mohammed Abd Al-Hamid, a resident of Ramallah, wrote that this religious coercion could cause the migration of artists, and said "The religious fanatics in Algeria destroyed every cultural symbol, shattered statues and rare works of art and liquidated intellectuals and artists, reporters and authors, ballet dancers and singers – are we going to imitate the Algerian and Afghani examples?"
Tayyip Erdoğan's Turkey as a role model
Some Hamas members stated that the model of Islamic government that Hamas seeks to emulate is that of Turkey under the rule of Tayyip Erdoğan. The foremost members to distance Hamas from the practices of Taliban and to publicly support the Erdoğan model were Ahmad Yousef and Ghazi Hamad, advisers to Prime Minister Hanieh. Yusuf, the Hamas deputy foreign minister, reflected this goal in an interview to a Turkish newspaper, stating that while foreign public opinion equates Hamas with the Taliban or al-Qaeda, the analogy is inaccurate. Yusuf described the Taliban as "opposed to everything," including education and women's rights, while Hamas wants to establish good relations between the religious and secular elements of society and strives for human rights, democracy and an open society. According to professor Yezid Sayigh of the King's College in London, how influential this view is within Hamas is uncertain, since both Ahmad Yousef and Ghazi Hamad were dismissed from their posts as advisers to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Hanieh in October 2007. Both have since been appointed to other prominent positions within the Hamas government. Khaled al-Hroub of the West Bank-based and anti-Hamas Palestinian daily Al Ayyam added that despite claims by Hamas leaders that it wants to repeat the Turkish model of Islam, "what is happening on the ground in reality is a replica of the Taliban model of Islam."
Antisemitism and anti-Zionism
See also: Racism in the Palestinian territories
According to academic Esther Webman, antisemitism is not the main tenet of Hamas ideology, although antisemitic rhetoric is frequent and intense in Hamas leaflets. The leaflets generally do not differentiate between Jews and Zionists. In other Hamas publications and in interviews with its leaders attempts at this differentiation have been made. In 2009 representatives of the small Jewish sect Neturei Karta met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya in Gaza, who stated that he held nothing against Jews but only against the state of Israel.
Hamas has made conflicting statements about its readiness to recognize Israel. In 2006 a spokesman signaled readiness to recognize Israel within the 1967 borders. Speaking of requests for Hamas to recognize agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, senior Hamas member Khaled Suleiman said that "these agreements are a reality which we view as such, and therefore I see no problem." Also in 2006, a Hamas official ruled out recognition of Israel with reference to West and East Germany, which never recognized each other.
Hamas Charter (1988)
Main article: Hamas Covenant
Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant provides the following quotation, attributed to Mohammed:
"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."
Article 22 states that the French revolution, the Russian revolution, colonialism and both world wars were created by the Zionists or forces supportive of Zionism:
"You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it."
Article 32 of the Covenant refers to an antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion:
"Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."
Statements by Hamas members and clerics
In 2008, Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas said in his sermon at the Katib Wilayat mosque in Gaza that "Jews are a people who cannot be trusted. They have been traitors to all agreements. Go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing."
Another Hamas legislator and imam, Sheik Yunus al-Astal, discussed a Koranic verse suggesting that "suffering by fire is the Jews' destiny in this world and the next." He concluded "Therefore we are sure that the Holocaust is still to come upon the Jews."
In January 2009, Gazan Hamas Health Minister Basim Naim published a letter in The Guardian, stating that Hamas has no quarrel with Jewish people, only with the actions of Israel.
In May 2009, senior Hamas MP Sayed Abu Musameh said, "in our culture, we respect every foreigner, especially Jews and Christians, but we are against Zionists, not as nationalists but as fascists and racists."
Following the rededication of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem in March 2010, senior Hamas figure al-Zahar called on Palestinians everywhere to observe five minutes of silence "for Israel's disappearance and to identify with Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa mosque". He further stated that "Wherever you have been you've been sent to your destruction. You've killed and murdered your prophets and you have always dealt in loan-sharking and destruction. You've made a deal with the devil and with destruction itself – just like your synagogue."
On January 8, 2012, during a visit to Tunis, Gazan Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh told The Associated Press on that he disagrees with the anti-Semitic slogans. "We are not against the Jews because they are Jews. Our problem is with those occupying the land of Palestine," he said. "There are Jews all over the world, but Hamas does not target them."
In response to a statement by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas that Hamas preferred non-violent means and had agreed to adopt "peaceful resistance," Hamas contradicted Abbas. According to Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri, "We had agreed to give popular resistance precedence in the West Bank, but this does not come at the expense of armed resistance."
On August 10, 2012, Ahmad Bahr, Deputy Speaker of the Hamas Parliament, stated in a sermon that aired on Al-Aqsa TV:
If the enemy sets foot on a single square inch of Islamic land, Jihad becomes an individual duty, incumbent on every Muslim, male or female. A woman may set out [on Jihad] without her husband's permission, and a servant without his master's permission. Why? In order to annihilate those Jews.... O Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. O Allah, destroy the Americans and their supporters. O Allah, count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one.
In an interview with Al-Aqsa TV in September 12, 2012, Marwan Abu Ras, a Hamas MP, who is also a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, stated (as translated by MEMRI):
The Jews are behind each and every catastrophe on the face of the Earth. This is not open to debate. This is not a temporal thing, but goes back to days of yore. They concocted so many conspiracies and betrayed rulers and nations so many times that the people harbor hatred towards them.... Throughout history – from Nebuchadnezzar until modern times ... They slayed the prophets, and so on.... Any catastrophe on the face of this Earth – the Jews must be behind it.
On December 26, 2012, Senior Hamas official and Jerusalem bureau chief Ahmed Abu Haliba, called on “all Palestinian factions to resume suicide attacks ... deep inside the Zionist enemy” and said that ”we must renew the resistance to occupation in any possible way, above all through armed resistance." Abu Haliba suggested the use of suicide bombings as a response to Israel's plans to build housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Statements on the Holocaust
Hamas has been explicit in its Holocaust Denial. In reaction to the Stockholm conference on the Jewish Holocaust, held in late January 2000, Hamas issued a press release that it published on its official website, containing the following statements from a senior leader:
This conference bears a clear Zionist goal, aimed at forging history by hiding the truth about the so-called Holocaust, which is an alleged and invented story with no basis. (...) The invention of these grand illusions of an alleged crime that never occurred, ignoring the millions of dead European victims of Nazism during the war, clearly reveals the racist Zionist face, which believes in the superiority of the Jewish race over the rest of the nations. (...) By these methods, the Jews in the world flout scientific methods of research whenever that research contradicts their racist interests.
In August 2003, senior Hamas official Dr Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi wrote in the Hamas newspaper Al-Risala that the Zionists encouraged murder of Jews by the Nazis with the aim of forcing them to immigrate to Palestine.
In 2005, Khaled Mashal called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's December 14, 2005 statements on the Holocaust that Europeans had "created a myth in the name of Holocaust") as "courageous". Later in 2008, Basim Naim, the minister of health in the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government in Gaza countered holocaust denial, and said "it should be made clear that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian government in Gaza denies the Nazi Holocaust. The Holocaust was not only a crime against humanity but one of the most abhorrent crimes in modern history. We condemn it as we condemn every abuse of humanity and all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender or nationality."
In an open letter to Gaza Strip UNRWA chief John Ging published August 20, 2009, the movement's Popular Committees for Refugees called the Holocaust "a lie invented by the Zionists," adding that the group refused to let Gazan children study about it. Hamas leader Younis al-Astal continued by saying that having the Holocaust included in the UNRWA curriculum for Gaza students amounted to "marketing a lie and spreading it". Al-Astal continued "I do not exaggerate when I say this issue is a war crime, because of how it serves the Zionist colonizers and deals with their hypocrisy and lies."
In February 2011, Hamas voiced opposition to UNRWA's teaching of the Holocaust in Gaza. According to Hamas, "Holocaust studies in refugee camps is a contemptible plot and serves the Zionist entity with a goal of creating a reality and telling stories in order to justify acts of slaughter against the Palestinian people."
In July 2012, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, denounced a visit by Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, to the Auschwitz death camp, saying it was "unjustified" and "unhelpful" and only served the "Zionist occupation" while coming "at the expense of a real Palestinian tragedy". He also called the Holocaust an "alleged tragedy" and "exaggerated".
In October 2012, Hamas said that they were opposed to teaching about the Holocaust in Gaza Strip schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency. The Refugee Affairs Department of Hamas said that teaching the Holocaust was a "crime against the issue of the refugees that is aimed at canceling their right of return".
Proximity to civilians during warfare
After Operation Pillar of Defense, Human Rights Watch stated that Palestinian groups had endangered civilians by "repeatedly fired rockets from densely populated areas, near homes, businesses, and a hotel" and noted that under international law, parties to a conflict may not to place military targets in or near densely populated areas. One rocket was launched close to the Shawa and Housari Building, where various Palestinian and international media have offices; another was fired from the yard of a house near the Deira Hotel.[unreliable source?][not in citation given] Human Rights Watch said it had not been able to identify any instance where civilians had been warned to evacuate an area before a rocket launch by Palestinian militants.[not in citation given]
New York Times journalist Steven Erlanger reported that "Hamas rocket and weapons caches, including rocket launchers, have been discovered in and under mosques, schools and civilian homes." Another report published by Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center revealed that Hamas used close to 100 mosques to store weapons and as launch-pads to shoot rockets. The report contains testimony from variety Palestinian sources, including a Hamas militant Sabhi Majad Atar, who said he was taught how to shoot rockets from inside a mosque. Hamas has also been criticized by Israeli officials for blending into or hiding among the Palestinian civilian population During the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict. The Israeli government published what it said was video evidence of human shield tactics by Hamas. Israel said that Hamas frequently used mosques and school yards as hideouts and places to store weapons, and that Hamas militants stored weapons in their homes, making it difficult to ensure that civilians close to legitimate military targets are not hurt during Israeli military operations. Israeli officials also accused the Hamas leadership of hiding under Shifa Hospital during the conflict, using the patients inside to deter an Israeli attack.
The Israeli government filed a report entitled "Gaza Operations Investigation: Second Update" to the United Nations accusing Hamas of exploiting its rules of engagement by shooting rockets and launching attacks within protected civilian areas. Israel says 12,000 rockets and mortars were fired at it between 2000 and 2008—nearly 3,000 in 2008 alone.
In one case, an errant Israeli mortar strike killed dozens of people near a UN school. Hamas said that the mortar killed 42 people and left dozens wounded. Israel said that Hamas militants had launched a rocket from a yard adjacent to the school and one mortar of three rounds hit the school, due to a GPS error. According to the Israeli military probe, the remaining two rounds hit the yard used to launch rockets into Israel, killing two members of Hamas' military wing who fired the rockets.
Human Right Watch called Hamas to "publicly renounce" the rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and hold those responsible to account. Human Right Watch program director Iain Levine said the attacks by Hamas were "unlawful and unjustifiable, and amount to war crimes", and accused Hamas of putting Palestinians at risk by launching attacks from built-up areas. Hamas spokesman relied that the report was "biased" and he denied that Hamas uses human shields.
Human Rights Watch investigated 19 incidents involving 53 civilian deaths in Gaza that Israel said were the result of Hamas fighting in densely populated areas and did not find evidence for existence of Palestinian fighters in the areas at the time of the Israeli attack. In other cases where no civilians had died, the report concluded that Hamas may have deliberately fired rockets from areas close to civilians. HRW also investigated 11 deaths that Israel said were civilians being used as human shields by Hamas. HRW found no evidence that the civilians were used as human shields, nor had they been shot in crossfire.
The Israeli 'human shields' charge against Hamas was called "full of holes" by The National (UAE), which stated that only Israel accused Hamas of using human shields during the conflict, though Hamas "may be guilty" of "locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas" and for "deliberately firing indiscriminate weapons into civilian populated areas".
On July 8, 2014, Hamas' spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri encouraged the "policy of people confronting the Israeli warplanes with their bare chests", saying it has proven itself. 
Criticism of rocket and mortar attacks and the targeting of civilians
Rocket attacks by Hamas have been condemned by Human rights organizations as war crimes, both because they usually target civilians and because the weapons' inaccuracy would disproportionately endanger civilians even if military targets were chosen. After Operation Pillar of Defense, Human Rights Watch stated that armed Palestinian groups fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities, violating international humanitarian law, and that statements by Palestinian groups that they deliberately targeted Israeli civilians demonstrated an "intent to commit war crimes". HRW's Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said that Palestinian groups made clear that "harming civilians was their aim" and said that the launching rockets at populated areas had no legal justification. International humanitarian law prohibits deliberate attacks on civilians and intentional violations can be war crimes.
In July 2008 Barack Obama, then the Democratic presidential candidate, said: "If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing." On December 28, 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement: "the United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel." On March 2, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks.
The August 2, 2010 Rocket attacks on Eilat and Aqaba sparked rage in Egypt at Hamas and Iran. The Egyptian press stated that the firing of the rockets from Egyptian territory by Hamas or by organizations cooperating with it constituted the crossing of a red line. The Egyptian position is that Iran is employing local proxies, such as Hamas, to escalate violence in the Middle East and to sabotage the Palestinian reconciliation efforts, as well as efforts to renew Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. Later that year, the Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhouriyya also slammed Hamas's firing of "primitive" rockets at Israel that, according to the writer, serve only to prompt a deadly response from Israel. He blamed Hamas for turning the Gaza Strip into a "big prison" isolated from the world, where the residents suffer poverty while the leaders live in luxury.
See also: Children in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict