Friday, March 11th, 2016
Group Name: Hamas
Principal Ideology: Geopolitical Autonomy
Area of Operation: Gaza Strip
Leadership: Shura Council. Political Bureau-Khaled Meshaal. Military Wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (Independent of political bureau) – Muhammad Deif
Affiliated Groups: Muslim Brotherhood; Iran
Principal Enemy: Israel
Tactics: Terrorist (Indiscriminate rocket attacks; kidnapping; suicide)
In the spring and summer of 2014, Israelis and Palestinians found themselves once again in open conflict, seemingly due to the kidnapping and deaths of three Israeli teenagers. How did the violence really start? On July 10, 2014, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the UN Security Council, “Today, we face the risk of an all-out escalation in Israel and Gaza, with the threat of a ground offensive still palpable — and preventable, only if Hamas stops rocket firing…” As of July 11, 2014, Israel had killed more than 100 Palestinians and wounded several hundred in more than 1,100 air strikes. Yet with Israel poised for a ground invasion of Gaza, Hamas continued to launch rocket attacks without causing a single Israeli fatality. Why do terrorist organizations like Hamas carry on this way? The hair trigger was actually set months prior with the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, resulting in a new Fatah-Hamas alliance. The tripwire fired when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped on June 12, 2014. Israel responded with sweeps through 1,350 West Bank sites, resulting in 330 arrests (including re-arresting previously released prisoners), two Palestinian deaths, and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
The groups within the Palestinian national movement commonly referred to as ‘rejectionists’ continue to be an active force in Palestinian politics. Since the early 1970s, rejectionism has been a distinct and identifiable inter-factional tendency, yet the phenomenon remains poorly understood in the West. A view of these groups simply as obstacles to Western and Israeli policy preferences has led to crudely self-serving explanations of their motivations (e.g. they hate Jews, they hate peace) that may serve to validate the perspective of individual analysts, but have little or no bearing on realities on the ground. Hamas—currently the most significant faction with a rejectionist agenda—was elected by landslide majority in 2006 to form a government in Gaza, and it remains an important task to understand who the rejectionists are, what they want, and why they want it.