Response To Common Inaccuracy: Hamas Fighting Occupation

Inaccuracy: Hamas is just “fighting against the Israeli occupation.”


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 mission does not focus on “liberating” 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.

Israel and Egypt do control Gazan imports and exports for security reasons. Until Egypt clamped down, Hamas openly brought sophisticated weapons and military materiel into Gaza through the Sinai. Similarly, Hamas has used building equipment, computer software and other dual-use items for their own military purposes. Israel takes great efforts to ensure the flow of medical and humanitarian goods into Gaza – and did so even during periods of direct military conflict. Each month on average, over 5,000 trucks carrying approximately 150,000 tons of goods enter Gaza from Israel. These trucks carry food, medicine and medical equipment, building materials and other assorted items. Electricity continues to flow freely from Israel into Gaza. Additionally, each month dozens of truckloads carrying goods produced in Gaza, including flowers and spices, are transferred to international markets via Israel.

Hamas is ultimately responsible for the difficult conditions the people of Gaza endure. Its refusal to comply with international demands to recognize Israel's right to exist and cease terrorist operations has led to the isolation of Gaza by the international community. It deliberately puts ordinary Palestinians in harm’s way by misusing domestic items for military purposes, establishing its terrorist infrastructure – manufacturing, storage, training and strategic planning – within densely populated areas, in the midst of homes, schools, mosques and hospitals. It has cynically exploited the harsh conditions in Gaza for public relations purposes, while continuing to expand the hostile activities that created and exacerbated these conditions.