Since its inception in 1988, Hamas has been crystal clear about its total opposition to Zionism and Israel. It opposes any kind of negotiations or agreements that recognize Israel as a reality, and its more extreme spokesmen regularly incite or celebrate the killing of Jews. Hamas has opposed all agreements and cooperation with the PLO and the Palestinian Authority because they have signed agreements recognizing Israel. Hamas, moreover, opposes any Palestinian or other Arab leader that recognizes Israel as a nation-state, and it seeks support from virtually any external source that will provide it arms, training, and funding. Eminent leaders in Hamas like Khaled Mishal, Ismail Haniyeh, Mahmoud al-Zahhar have been emphatic, as one can read below, that their movement will neither disarm nor give up militant action. They believe that all the land west of the Jordan River belongs to them. Accordingly, Hamas harbors no doubts about its vision for tomorrow–Israel’s destruction–and any solution that falls short of fulfilling this vision is to be rejected out of hand. Hamas is willing to have Palestinians take over Palestine in stages, gain geographic control of portions of it, even reach temporary cease-fires with Israel because the ultimate objective is to assert control over all of Palestine from east to west and north to south. Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, the Hamas founder and most revered of all its past leaders said in 2002, “We declare very clearly that Palestine from AlNaqurah to Rafah and from [river] Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea is the land of Palestine. There is no harm in establishing a Palestinian state on any part that is liberated at this stage, but without this meaning conceding the remaining territories of Palestine. This is the difference between the brothers in the PA and us.” Al-Majallah, March 31, 2002.
Since taking over the Gaza Strip in 2007 in a political coup against the (PA) Palestinian Authority and the (PLO) Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas has engaged in four major military confrontations with Israel. Each round of hostilities was followed by a cease-fire that Hamas exploited, and on each occasion, Hamas would rearm, raise donations from outside supporters, and, finally, resume its violence against Israel. Most recently and most lethally, on October 7, 2023, Hamas invaded Israeli territory and went on a killing spree, murdering more than 1,300 Israeli men, women and children and fulfilling its organizational mission to kill Jews and degrade Israeli resolve. Now, as Israel responds to the systematic execution of its own citizens and those of other countries, many unanswered questions about Gaza’s political future suggest themselves. Of these questions, the most fundamental is whether Hamas will be able to continue its rule in Gaza, or whether another government will take its place and thus end Hamas’s grip on Gaza and its genocidal indoctrination of more than two million Gazans.
For more than 40 years, I have accumulated these quotations and others in preparation for my college courses. Many of the items were retrieved from the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report – Near East and South Asia, regularly published by the Department of Commerce. Other sources used included MEMRI, and world newspapers. Sources for each item are provided.
Ken Stein, October 13, 2023
1988 Hamas Charter — “The Islamic Resistance Movement is a link in [a long] chain of the jihad against the Zionist occupation: The Last Hour would not come until the Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them (article 7); every one of them has a role to play in the struggle against Zionism (article 14); in the circle of struggle with world Zionism, the Islamic Resistance Movement considers itself the spearhead, or a step on the path (article 32).” (Espanol)
October 1992 —Ibrahim Ghawshah, head of Hamas in Gaza: “…there is a dangerous plot under way that threatens the entire region; that is, the plot to have the Arab, Islamic fold accept the Zionists. If, God forbid, this materializes and Arab-Israeli relations improve, as we mentioned earlier, it would engulf all aspects including the political, cultural and social spheres. In this way. Israel would be able to attain its strategic objectives of a Greater Israel without fighting. True peace can only be attained by returning the Palestinians to their homeland and returning the Zionist aggressors to the countries from where they have come.” Ibrahim Ghawshah, Keyhan (Tehran), October 31, 1992.
November 1994 — Abdallah al-Shami, official Hamas spokesman: “The state of Israel has no right to exist over the land of Palestine. Recognizing the legitimacy of Israel is a disavowal of our people’s right. We have been against the legitimacy of the occupation from the beginning. The entire land is owned by our people. We do not mind if the Jews want to live on our land. However, we will not agree whatsoever to live under their flag and under their control.” Al-Muharrir (Paris), November 21, 1994.
April 1997 — Abd al-Azziz Rantisi, co-founder of Hamas: “Islam does not permit giving up one inch of Palestine and states that Palestine belongs to the Muslims, belongs to the Palestinian people, not to the Jews,” Abd al-Azziz Rantisi, al-Hayat, April 22, 1997.
April 2001 — Ismail Haniyeh, chairman of Hamas’s politburo: “The option of resistance and Jihad [struggle] is the only one that will force the Zionists to leave. The relationship with the enemy should not be one of negotiation or cooperation, but one of confrontation and resistance. We base our strategy on the following principles: (1) The option of resistance and Jihad [struggle] is the only one that will force the Zionists to leave. (2) The relationship with the enemy should not be one of negotiation or cooperation, but one of confrontation and resistance. (3) Ties between the Palestinian cause and its Arab and Moslem extensions must be strengthened, since the Palestinian cause doesn’t only concern the Palestinian people. The struggle against Israel is a clash between two civilizations for which the Arab nation must mobilize all its potential. As far as we in Hamas are concerned, we have never declared that we intend to stop our armed struggle against the occupation, negotiations, or no negotiations.” Excerpts of Interview with Ismail Haniyeh, who was then the secretary to Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, Falastin al-Muslimah, April 17, 2001.
March 2002 – Hamas spiritual leader and Shakyh Ahmed Yasin 1998 “Neither Tenet nor Mitchell (two US Middle East negotiators) can solve the Palestinian issue. They are just sedatives because only the liberation of the land and the Palestinian people’s return to their homeland and holy places can solve our issue. We will not lay down arms and no authority or people can hand over their weapons before liberation. We say liberation first and then disarmament. Anything else comes under the USIsraeli plot to isolate the Palestinians and impose the defective solutions on them. And this is something we absolutely refuse to accept.
We declare very clearly that Palestine from AlNaqurah to Rafah and from [river] Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea is the land of Palestine. There is no harm in establishing a Palestinian state on any part that is liberated at this stage, but without this meaning conceding the remaining territories of Palestine. This is the difference between the brothers in the PA and us. ” alMajallah (London) March 31, 2002.
March 2005 —Mahmoud al-Zahhar, co-founder of Hamas, on a truce with the PA or Israel and what it would mean: “If Hamas enters the government, it is ready to accept a long term truce and keep the conflict open. The issue does not necessarily have to be settled by this generation. There are countries that remained under occupation for long years. Therefore, if our generation cannot act, it must not make concessions.” al-Jezirah satellite television, March 20, 2005.
April 2006 —Dr. Ahmad Salih, Prime Minister Isma’il Haniyah’s political adviser, on corruption in the PA: “Acts of systematic looting [by Arafat’s regime] have led to a high deficit in the Palestinian economy and have entangled the PA in debts amounting to about $2 billion at a time when the money coming to the PA from abroad covered all the requirements needed for current expenses or the construction and development of infrastructure installations or building a strong national economy.” Salih added that the Hamas government “has inherited a heavy burden as a result of the rampant corruption.” al-Ayyam, April 20, 2006.
June 2006 — Isma’il Haniyah, chairman of Hamas’s politburo: “The right to return is an individual right. No representation of the Palestinians, neither the various organizations nor the government nor the president are entitled to relinquish this right. Every refugee must be able to decide on his or her own whether he or she wants to return home. So they would also be able to decide whether they prefer to move to the Palestinian state to be established and being compensated financially? …Do you expect the Palestinians to sell their homeland and their fatherland for money?” Der Spiegel, June 13, 2006.
September 2006 — Musa Abu Marzouq, deputy chief of Hamas’s politburo, on the 2002 Arab Initiative: “Hamas rejects this because it means recognition of Israel.” al-Ayyam, September 18, 2006.
October 2006 — Mahmoud al-Zahar, co-founder of Hamas: “Israel is a vile entity that has been planted in our soil, and has no historical, religious or cultural legitimacy. We cannot normalize our relations with this entity.” al-Ayyam, October 21, 2006.
May 2008 —Mahmoud al-Zahhar, co-founder of Hamas: “Now more than ever I tell you – we will never recognize Israel… We will form the Palestinian state on all of Palestine’s territories and the sun of liberty will burn the Zionists. To them I say – you will lose. You will leave and we will keep hounding you. The blood of our slain sons will haunt you forever.” Public remarks, May 14, 2008.
December 2011 — Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh: “The principles [of Hamas] are definitive and non-negotiable: Palestine means Palestine in its entirety, from the River to the Sea. There will be no concession of a single inch of the land of Palestine. The fact that Hamas, at one stage or another, accepts the goal of gradual liberation – of Gaza, of the West Bank, or of Jerusalem – is not at the expense of our strategic vision with regard to the land of Palestine.” Al-Aqsa Television, December 14, 2011.
November 2012 — Khalid Mishaal, chief of Hamas’s politburo: “Palestine, from its river to its sea, from its north to its south, is the land of the Palestinians; their homeland, and their legitimate right. We will not relinquish an inch or any part of it -for any reason or under any circumstances and pressures. We are not fighting the Jewish people merely because they are Jewish. We are, however, fighting those who are Zionist occupiers and aggressors. We will fight anyone who tries to attack us, seize our rights or occupy our land regardless of their religion, affiliations, race or nationality. The Zionist project is a racist, hostile, and expansionist project based on murder and terrorism. Hence, it is the enemy of the Palestinian people and nation and poses a real threat to them, as well as to their security and interests. Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to say that it is a danger to the security of the humanitarian community, its interests and its stability.” Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies & Consultations, Beirut, November 28-29, 2012.
December 2012 — Khalid Mishaal, chief of Hamas’s politburo: “Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on any inch of the land. We will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation, and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take. We will free Jerusalem inch by inch, stone by stone. Israel has no right to be in Jerusalem.” New York Times, December 8, 2012.
May 2014 — Mousa Abu Marzouk, deputy chairman of Hamas’ politburo: “Hamas will never recognize Israel. This is a red line that cannot be crossed. We would have spared ourselves seven years of misery under the siege and two wars in 2008 and 2012 had we wanted to recognize Israel. …The al-Qassam Brigades’ weaponry is of national importance to confront the occupation. Hamas’ position in this regard is clear, and it will not allow any tampering with the brigades’ armament, under any circumstances, because it is a strategic asset for all Palestinians. In contrast, the Quartet negotiations require that violence be renounced, which, in effect, means that the al-Qassam weapons must be decommissioned. But this is unacceptable, and Hamas will reject it outright.” Al-Monitor, May 5, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/iw/originals/2014/05/interview-abu-marzouk-Hamas-israel-fatah-reconciliation.html.
July 2014 — Khatib (congregational prayer leader who delivers sermons) at a mosque in Deir Al-Balah Mosque, Gaza: “Our doctrine in fighting you (the Jews) is that we will totally exterminate you. We will not leave a single one of you alive, because you are alien usurpers of the land and eternal mercenaries. You are the mercenaries of all times. Research the history, my brothers. Wherever the Jews lived, they spread corruption. Oh Muslims, didn’t you notice that Allah said: ‘They spread in THE land…’ The definite article in ‘THE land’ means the entire land. They spread in the land corruption, and Allah loves not the corrupters.” From a sermon delivered at Deir Al-Balah Mosque in Gaza, Al-Aqsa TV, (Hamas TV channel) aired Friday, July 25, 2014, http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/4376.htm.