The Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is not under Israeli occupation. Israel fully disengaged from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, uprooting 8,000 Israeli settlers from their homes and removing all military installations. Israel took this step in order to improve the quality of life for the Palestinian population of Gaza and in the hope that the Palestinians would govern Gaza responsibly and peacefully. Instead, the Hamas leadership has turned Gaza into an armed camp and a launching pad for terrorism and extremism targeting Israeli civilians.
Moreover, Hamas' openly declared objective and strategy do not focus on the West Bank or Gaza Strip, but calls for the complete eradication of the State of Israel. Its ultimate objective is the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state ruled by Islamic theocratic law in place of the State of Israel. The Hamas covenant, issued in 1988, is replete with anti-Semitism, and echoes the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion which charges Jews with an international conspiracy to gain control of the world. In Hamas' world-view, Islamic precepts forbid a Jewish state in the area known as Palestine, and the Jewish people have no legitimate connection to the land of Israel. As its covenant proclaims, "The land of Palestine is an Islamic trust... It is forbidden to anyone to yield or concede any part of it... Israel will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it..." To this end, the leaders of Hamas have denounced peace negotiations with Israel as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.
Hamas bears sole responsibility for the situation in the Gaza Strip. It cynically and deliberately put ordinary Palestinians in harm’s way by establishing its terrorist infrastructure – manufacturing, storage, training and strategic planning – within densely populated areas, in the midst of homes, schools, mosques and hospitals. Since 2001 it has launched or permitted the launching of thousands of rocket attacks at Israeli population centers. These rockets have reached well inside Israeli territory, endangering almost half of Israel’s population.