The Covenant of the Hamas: Main Points
18 Aug 1988
The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement was issued on August 18, 1988. The Islamic Resistance Movement, also known as the HAMAS, is an extremist fundamentalist Islamic organization operating in the territories under Israeli control. Its Covenant is a comprehensive manifesto comprised of 36 separate articles, all of which promote the basic HAMAS goal of destroying the State of Israel through Jihad (Islamic Holy War). The following are excerpts of the HAMAS Covenant:
Goals of the HAMAS:
"The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine." (Article 6)
On the destruction of Israel:
"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (Preamble)
The exclusive Moslem nature of the area:
"The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it." (Article 11)
"Palestine is an Islamic land... Since this is the case, the Liberation of Palestine is an individual duty for every Moslem wherever he may be." (Article 13)
The call to jihad:
"The day the enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In the face of the Jews' usurpation, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised." (Article 15)
"Ranks will close, fighters joining other fighters, and masses everywhere in the Islamic world will come forward in response to the call of duty, loudly proclaiming: 'Hail to Jihad!'. This cry will reach the heavens and will go on being resounded until liberation is achieved, the invaders vanquished and Allah's victory comes about." (Article 33)
Rejection of a negotiated peace settlement:
"[Peace] initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement... Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the infidels as arbitrators in the lands of Islam... There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility." (Article 13)
Condemnation of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty:
"Egypt was, to a great extent, removed from the circle of struggle [against Zionism] through the treacherous Camp David Agreement. The Zionists are trying to draw other Arab countries into similar agreements in order to bring them outside the circle of struggle. ...Leaving the circle of struggle against Zionism is high treason, and cursed be he who perpetrates such an act." (Article 32)
The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: 'O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him." (Article 7)
"The enemies have been scheming for a long time ... and have accumulated huge and influential material wealth. With their money, they took control of the world media... With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the globe... They stood behind the French Revolution, the Communist Revolution and most of the revolutions we hear about... With their money they formed secret organizations - such as the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs and the Lions - which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests... They stood behind World War I ... and formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains... There is no war going on anywhere without them having their finger in it." (Article 22)
"Zionism scheming has no end, and after Palestine, they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates River. When they have finished digesting the area on which they have laid their hand, they will look forward to more expansion. Their scheme has been laid out in the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion'." (Article 32)
"The HAMAS regards itself the spearhead and the vanguard of the circle of struggle against World Zionism... Islamic groups all over the Arab world should also do the same, since they are best equipped for their future role in the fight against the warmongering Jews." (Article 32)
Analysis of the Hamas Charter
(Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
The Hamas charter is the document which sets out the movement’s ideology as it was formulated and honed by its founders. It includes its radical Islamic world view (conceived by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt), which has basically not changed in the 18 years of its existence. With regard to Israel, the charter s stance is uncompromising. It views the “problem of Palestine” as a religious political Muslim issue, and the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation as a conflict between Islam and the “infidel” Jews. “Palestine” is presented as sacred Islamic land and it is strictly forbidden to give up an inch of it because no one (including Arab-Muslim rulers) has the authority to do so. With regard to international relations, the charter manifests an extremist worldview which is as anti-Western as Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
That worldview brings in its wake the refusal to recognize the State of Israel’s right to exist as an independent, sovereign nation, the waging of a ceaseless jihad (holy war) against it and total opposition to any agreement or arrangement that would recognize its right to exist. At the beginning of the charter there is a quotation attributed to Hassan Al-Bana, that “Israel will arise and continue to exist until Islam wipes it out, as it wiped out what went before.”
Overt, vicious anti-Semitism, with both Islamic and Christian-European origins, is used extensively throughout the document. The all-out holy war (jihad) against the Jewish people is legitimized by presenting the Jews in a negative light and demonizing them as wanting to take over not only the Middle East but also the rest of the world. One of the jihad’s deadliest manifestations is suicide bombing terrorism, which was developed mainly by Hamas during the 1990s and has become its leading “strategy” in the ongoing violent Israeli-Palestinian confrontation.
The Jews are also presented as worthy of only humiliation and lives of misery. That is because, according to the charter, they angered Allah, rejected the Qur’an and killed the prophets (the relevant Qur’an verse from Surah Aal-‘Imran is quoted at the beginning of the charter). The document also includes anti-Semitic myths taken from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (mentioned in Article 32) regarding Jewish control of the media, the film industry and education (Articles 17 and 22). The myths are constantly repeated to represent the Jews as responsible for the French and Russian revolutions and for all world and local wars: “No war takes place anywhere without the Jews’ being behind it” (Article 22). The charter demonizes the Jews and describes them as brutally behaving like Nazis toward women and children (Article 29).
The charter views the jihad (holy war) as the way to take all of “Palestine” from the Jews and to destroy the State of Israel, and Hamas’s terrorist attacks are seen as links in the jihad chain carried out during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Article 15 states that “the jihad to liberate ‘Palestine’ is the personal duty [fardh ‘ayn]” of every Muslim, an idea expounded by ‘Abdallah ‘Azzam.
The charter emphasizes the battle for Muslim hearts and minds, or, “the spread of Islamic consciousness” (al-wa’i al-islami), within three main spheres: the Palestinians, the Arab Muslims and the non-Arab Muslims (Article 15). The process of fostering and spreading that “Islamic consciousness” (amaliyyat al taw aiyah) is defined as its most important mission. Clerics, educators, men of culture, those active in the media and information services and the generally educated public all have the responsibility to carry it out (ibid.).
As part of the battle for hearts and minds, the charter places a special emphasis on education [i.e., indoctrination] in the spirit of radical Islam, based on the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood. Fundamental changes must be made, it states, in the educational system in the PA-administered territories: it must be “purified,” purged of “the influences of the ideological invasion brought by the Orientalists and missionaries” (Article 15), and the younger generation should be given a radical Islamic education based exclusively on the Qur’an and the Muslim tradition (the Sunnah). The means used for ideological recruitment, as detailed in the charter, are “books, articles, publications, sermons, flyers, folk songs, poetic language, songs, plays, etc.” When imbued with “correct” Islamic belief and culture, they become an important means of raising morale and building the psychological fixation and emotional strength necessary for a continuing “liberation campaign” (Article 19).
The charter stresses the importance of Muslim solidarity according to the commands of the Qur’an and Sunnah, especially in view of the confrontation taking place between Palestinian society and the “terrorist Jewish enemy,” described as Nazi-like. One of the expressions of that solidarity is aid to the needy (one of whose main manifestations is the network of various “charitable societies” set up by Hamas, which integrate social activities and support of terrorism).
The charter makes a point of the ideological difference between Hamas, with its radical Islamic world view, and the secularly-oriented The Palestine Liberation Organization, but pays lip service to the need for Palestinian unity needed to face the Jewish enemy. It notes that an Islamic world view completely contradicts The Palestine Liberation Organization’s secular orientation and the idea of a secular Palestinian state. Nevertheless, notes the charter, Hamas is prepared to aid and support every “nationalist trend” working “to liberate Palestine” and is not interested in creating schisms and disagreements (Article 27).