Hamas not terrorist, but Palestinian Islamic socio-political organization


Hamas (حماس Ḥamās, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamat al-Islāmiyyah, meaning "Islamic Resistance Movement") is a Palestinian Islamic socio-political organization which includes a paramilitary force, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. On January 25, 2006, Hamas won the legislative elecions held in the Palestinian Territories, gaining the majority seats in the Palestinian parliment. This further complicated matters in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as it is considered wholly, or in part, a terrorist organization by certain countries and supranational organizations. Since June 2007, after winning a large majority in the Palestinian Parliament and defeating rival Palestinian party Fatah in a series of violent clashes, Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories.
Hamas was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi and Mohammad Taha of the Palestinian wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the First Intifada, an uprising against Israeli rule in the Palestinian Territories. Hamas launched numerous suicide bombings against Israel, the first of them in April, 1993. Hamas ceased the attacks in 2005 and renounced them in April, 2006. Hamas has also been responsible for Israel-targeted rocket attacks, IED attacks, and shootings, but reduced those operations in 2005 and 2006. In 2008 the rockets reached their peak and then once again went down after Operation Cast Lead.

In January 2006, Hamas was successful in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, taking 76 of the 132 seats in the chamber, while the previous ruling Fatah party took 43. After Hamas's election victory, violent and non-violent infighting arose between Hamas and Fatah. Following the Battle of Gaza in June 2007, elected Hamas officials were ousted from their positions in the Palestinian National Authority government in the West Bank and replaced by rival Fatah members and independents. Hamas retained control of Gaza. On June 18, 2007, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah) issued a decree outlawing the Hamas militia. Israel immediately thereafter imposed an economic blockade on Gaza, and Hamas repeatedly launched rocket attacks upon areas of Israel near its border with Gaza. After the end of a six-month ceasefire the conflict was escalated, and Israel invaded Hamas-ruled Gaza in late December, 2008. Israel withdrew its forces from Gaza in mid-January, 2009.
Through its funding and management of schools, health-care clinics, mosques, youth groups, athletic clubs and day-care centers, Hamas by the mid-1990s had attained a "well-entrenched" presence in the West Bank and Gaza.An estimated 80 to 90 percent of Hamas revenues fund health, social welfare, religious, cultural, and educational services.

Hamas's 1988 charter calls for replacing the State of Israel with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. However, Khaled Meshal, Hamas's Damascus-based political bureau chief, stated in 2009 that the group would accept the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and, although unwilling to negotiate a permanent peace with Israel, has offered a temporary, long-term truce, or hudna, that would be valid for ten years.
Hamas describes its conflict with Israel as neither religious nor antisemitic, the head of Hamas's political bureau stating in early 2006 that the conflict with Israel "is not religious but political", and that Jews have a covenant from God "that is to be respected and protected." Nonetheless, the Hamas Charter and statements by Hamas leaders are influenced by antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, and the United States. Australia and the United Kingdom list the military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization. The United States and the European Union have implemented restrictive measures against Hamas on an international level. (wikipedia - brianakira.wordpress.com - progressiveworldreview.com - www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk)

Peace process in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict


The peace process in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has taken shape over the years, despite the ongoing violence in the Middle East and an "all or nothing" attitude about a lasting peace, "which prevailed for most of the twentieth century". Since the 1970s there has been a parallel effort made to find terms upon which peace can be agreed to in both the Arab–Israeli conflict and in the Palestinian–Israeli conflict. Some countries have signed peace treaties, such as the Egypt–Israel (1979) and Jordan–Israel (1994) treaties, whereas some have not yet found a mutual basis to do so.
Since the November 2007 Annapolis Conference, the current outline for a Palestinian–Israeli peace agreement has been a two-state solution.

Palestinian views of the peace process.
Palestinians have held diverse views and perceptions of the peace process. A key starting point for understanding these views is an awareness of the differing objectives sought by advocates of the Palestinian cause. 'New Historian' Israeli academic Ilan Pappe says the cause of the conflict from a Palestinian point of view dates back to 1948 with the creation of Israel (rather than Israel’s views of 1967 being the crucial point and the return of occupied territories being central to peace negotiations), and that the conflict has been a fight to bring home refugees to a Palestinian state. Therefore this for some was the ultimate aim of the peace process and for groups such as Hamas still is. However Slater says that this ‘maximalist’ view of a destruction of Israel in order to regain Palestinian lands, a view held by Arafat and the PLO initially, has steadily moderated from the late 1960s onwards to a preparedness to negotiate and instead seek a two-state solution. The Oslo Accords demonstrated the recognition of this acceptance by the then Palestinian leadership of the state of Israel’s right to exist in return for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and West Bank. However there are recurrent themes prevalent throughout peace process negotiations including a feeling that Israel offers too little and a mistrust of its actions and motives.

Israeli views of the peace process.
There are several Israeli views of the peace process. One Israeli view is that the conflict stems from the 1967 Six Day War and consequently the peace process should stem from this and thus have negotiated on the basis of giving up some control of the occupied territories in return for a stop to the conflict and violence. Hardliners believe that no territorial concessions should be given to Palestinians and want to maintain an Israeli sovereign state over the whole area it currently occupies, or if it does negotiate with territory in the peace process only with the Gaza Strip. Israelis view the peace process as hindered and near impossible due to terrorism on the part of Palestinians and do not trust Palestinian leadership to maintain control. In fact, Pedahzur goes as far as to say that suicide terrorism succeeded where peace negotiations failed in encouraging withdrawal by Israelis from cities in the West Bank. The Oslo Accords and the Camp David 2000 summit negotiations revealed the possibility of a two state system being accepted as a possible peace solution by Israeli leadership. However the violence of the second intifada has strengthened the resolve that peace and negotiation is not possible and a two state system is not the answer which is further enforced by the coming to power of Hamas. A common theme throughout the peace process has been a feeling that the Palestinians ask for too much in their peace demands and offer little in return. (wikipedia - english.people.com - cdn4.wn.com)