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Publisher's Summary

  • Discusses the origins of Hamas and important leaders like Sheikh Yassin, Khaled Meshaal, and others
  • Covers the Middle East conflict from the formation of Israel to today

In 1988, a recently organized militant group issued its charter, which called upon Muslims to "raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine". The group, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, declared, "Allah is its goal, the Prophet is the model, the Qur'an its constitution, jihad its path, and death for the sake of Allah its most sublime belief." Vowing to fight off the "Zionist invaders", the charter states, "The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews [and kill them]; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: Oh Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"

Despite having a charter that called for the murder of Jews across the world, Israel actually bolstered this fundamentalist religious group, universally known as Hamas, during its formative years in the 1980s. After occupying the Gaza Strip, Israel encouraged the rise of Islamists as a way of undercutting the secular Palestine Liberation Organization, which Israel had always viewed as the greater threat. One of the individuals who Israel helped was Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip, who had organized a charity that built mosques, clubs, and schools there.

Less than 20 years later, the political situation in the Palestinian territories became far more complicated. Although the extent of cooperation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority during the 90s and early 2000s was disputed, Hamas was voted into power in elections in the Gaza Strip and the two sides eventually engaged in a civil war in 2007, with Hamas crushing the PA's forces in the Gaza Strip and becoming the sole power in that territory.

©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

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