Hamas (Arabic: حماس Ḥamās, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement) is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist organization. It has a social service wing, Dawah, and a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and, since 2007, has been the governing authority of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas was founded in 1987,soon after the First Intifada broke out, as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which in its Gaza branch had been non-confrontational towards Israel, refrained from resistance, and was hostile to the PLO. Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987, and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from “Israeli occupation” and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The group has stated that it may accept a 10-year truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders
and allows Palestinian refugees from 1948, including their descendants, to return to what is now Israel, although clarifying that this does not mean recognition of Israel or the end of the conflict.Hamas’s military wing objected to the truce offer. Analysts have said that it seems clear that Hamas knows that many of its conditions for the truce could never be met.
The military wing of Hamas has launched attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, often justifying them as retaliatory, in particular for assassinations of the upper echelon of their leadership.
Tactics have included suicide bombings and, since 2001, rocket attacks. Hamas’s rocket arsenal, though mainly consisting of short-range homemade Qassam rockets,also includes long-range weapons that have reached major Israeli cities including Tel Avivand Haifa. The attacks on civilians have been condemned as war crimes and crimes against humanity by human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch.