Hamas in Politics: Democracy, Religion, Violence

Jeroen Gunning

Research output: Book/ReportBook


In January 2006 Hamas, an organisation classified by Western governments as terrorist, was democratically elected to govern the Palestinian territories. The inherent contradictions in this situation have left many analysts at a loss.Hamas uses terror tactics against Israel, yet runs on a law and order ticket in Palestinian elections; it pursues an Islamic state, yet holds internal elections; it campaigns for shar iah law, yet its leaders are predominantly secular professionals; it calls for the destruction of Israel, yet has reluctantly agreed to honour previous peace agreements. In Hamas in Politics Jeroen Gunning challenges thea ssumption that religion,violence and democracy are inherently incompatible and shows how many of these apparent contradictions flowfrom the interaction between Hamas s ideology, its local constituencyand the nature of politics in Israel/Palestine. Drawing on interviewswith members of Hamas and its critics, and a decade of close observation of the group, he offers a penetrating analysis of Hamas own understanding of its ideology and in particular the tension between its dual commitment to God and the people . The book explores what Hamas political practice says about its attitude towards democracy,religion and violence, providing a unique examination of the movement sinternal organisation, how its leaders are selected and how decisions are made.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherHurst Publishers
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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