The rise of Hamas to power in the 2006 elections was the result of a long path of internal development taken by the Islamic Movement of Palestine. Founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 1973 in Gaza, the Muslim Association1 was transformed in 1987 into the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas , the first Palestinian Islamic political organization with a clearly defined and independent ideological concept. The appeal of Hamas, like its predecessor, the Muslim Association, to religious discourse meant finding a marker for the self-identification of the "1967 refugee generation2" as a social community-the "Muvatynun" 3, that group of the Palestinian ethnic group that remained within the national territory. This marker was necessary to integrate Hamas into the system of Palestinian political action, in which it acted as an alternative to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its supporting structure FATAH, the largest national action group led (at that time) by the chairman of the PLO Executive Committee, Yasser Arafat.
In this respect, Hamas was no exception. The nationalist idea that determined the emergence of all Palestinian political parties required each of them to find its own way of self-identification, which allowed it to occupy one or another political and ideological niche in the context of the national community. Such markers were the communist ideology that appealed to Marxism, Ba'athism in its Syrian and Iraqi versions, or Nasser's idea of Arabism. The decline or even collapse of these doctrines in the world and in the Middle East arena forced new generations of the Palestinian elite to search for other ideological markers that could allow them to participate in the political process. The Islamist political ideology ignored by the PLO factions allowed Hamas not only to find a way to identify itself politically, but also to help develop a religious discourse that became a new framework for Palestinian nationalism.
While Hamas established itself as a real ... Read more