Hamas, a significant and influential militant group, assumed power in Gaza following the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. Gaining control through these elections, they marked a pivotal shift in Palestinian political dynamics by pushing Fatah, the then-dominant secular Palestinian nationalist party, to the side. This move not only changed the political landscape but also set a new tone for future events and interactions in the region.
Following this noteworthy change, in 2007, Hamas took a more aggressive stance. They orchestrated a military coup against Fatah, leading them to gain total control over the Gaza Strip. With this move, they expelled the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, setting the stage for their unchallenged rule in Gaza.
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Summary of When Was Hamas Elected to Rule Gaza
|Foundation of Hamas by Sheik Ahmad Yassin
|Hamas wins Palestinian legislative elections
|Hamas seizes control of Gaza from Fatah
|Ismail Haniyeh, political leader of Hamas, goes into exile
|Hamas initiates surprise attack on southern Israel
The Inception of Hamas
Born out of unrest in December 1987 during the First Intifada, Hamas was founded by Sheik Ahmad Yassin. Serving as an offshoot of the larger Muslim Brotherhood, the group was grounded in three primary pillars: religion, charity, and confrontation against Israel. This unique blend gave them a distinct identity in the Palestinian political arena.
Furthermore, their official name, Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah, which translates to “Islamic Resistance Movement,” reflects their core beliefs and objectives, hinting at their robust stand against Israeli occupation.
The Surprising Rise of Hamas
The 2006 Palestinian legislative elections were nothing short of a game-changer. While many anticipated Fatah to continue its dominance, the tides turned in favor of Hamas, which managed to clinch a victory by securing the majority of the Palestinian Legislative Council seats.
Post this significant win, the path was clear for Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas to become the prime minister. The combined strength of Hamas and Fatah gave birth to a coalition government. However, like many coalitions, this too was short-lived, leading to dramatic events in 2007.
Hamas’s Grip Over Gaza
2007 was a tumultuous year in the Gaza Strip. In a swift military coup, Hamas forcefully took control of Gaza from Fatah, effectively expelling them from the territory. This bold maneuver led to the international community distancing themselves from the Gaza Strip, as many refused to acknowledge Hamas as the legitimate government.
Objectives and Tactics of Hamas
Hamas has clear objectives in sight:
- Attaining Palestinian nationalism.
- Establishing an Islamic state across Palestine, encompassing Israel, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.
Their approach, however, has been violent. The group is infamous for its suicide bombings, unprovoked attacks on civilians, and assaults on Israeli soldiers. Their tactic of launching rockets from populated areas, using civilians as shields, has also drawn international criticism.
The World’s View on Hamas
The violent strategies and relentless attacks have led countries like the United States and the European Union to label Hamas as a terrorist group. This categorization brought along stringent sanctions, impacting their operations.
Key Figures of Hamas
Two individuals stand out in the history of Hamas:
- Founder Ahmed Yassin: He was not only the spiritual but also the guiding force behind Hamas until an Israeli airstrike claimed his life in 2004.
- Political Leader Ismail Haniyeh: Serving as the group’s political beacon, Haniyeh chose exile in 2019, operating from abroad since then.
Recent developments, especially the October 2023 surprise assault on southern Israel by Hamas, have intensified the situation. The attack led to significant casualties on both sides, with hundreds dead and many taken as hostages, further deteriorating the already fragile relationship between Hamas and Israel.
Hamas’s ascent to power in 2006 was not just a change in leadership but a seismic shift in the political landscape of the Palestinian territories. Their strategies and international perception continue to shape the direction of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With each passing event, the importance of understanding the background and implications of Hamas’s rule in Gaza becomes more and more critical.
1. When did Hamas come into power in Gaza?
Hamas was elected to rule Gaza in 2006 through the Palestinian legislative elections.
2. Who founded Hamas?
Hamas was founded by Sheik Ahmad Yassin in December 1987.
3. Why is Hamas considered a terrorist group by some nations?
Hamas’s consistent use of violence, including suicide bombings and attacks on civilians, has led to its designation as a terrorist group by several countries.
4. Who is the current political leader of Hamas?
The current political leader of Hamas is Ismail Haniyeh, who has been operating from abroad since 2019.
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