Why Hamas: The Socioeconomic and Political Foundations of the Islamists’ Popularity

2016 Lawrence Lader Prize in Expository Writing

Justin Curtis

 

In January 2006, the Islamic Fundamentalist Group Hamas won a commanding majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), shocking political pundits across the globe. Fatah, Hamas’s more moderate and secular political counterpart, had led by almost 18% in public opinion polls a month prior to the election and was widely expected to retain control of the PLC.[1] Under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, Fatah had had a stranglehold over Palestinian politics for much of the late 20th and early 21st century. Nonetheless, Hamas pulled off a political miracle, upending the status quo and unsettling the international community. Palestinian voters seemed to endorse Hamas’s radical Islamism at the ballot box, making a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians look like a distant fantasy. Indeed, the day following the election, the front page of the New York Times declared that Hamas’s “strong showing raises doubts on peace,” emphasizing that Hamas was a “militant Islamic party sworn to the destruction of Israel.”[2]

This prevalent, foreboding narrative of a “militant” Hamas stemmed from the Islamists’ long history of extremism. Since its inception in 1988, Hamas promulgated a steady stream of anti-Semitic propaganda, referring to Jews as “blood suckers,” “brothers of apes,” and “human pigs.”[3] Denouncing the “Nazism of the Jews,” the organization’s founding Charter champions the elimination of Israel and asserts, “The land of Palestine is an Islamic land entrusted to the Muslim generations until Judgment Day.”[4] Quoting extensively from the Quran and other canonical religious texts, the Charter proclaims, “Death for the sake of God is its most coveted desire.”[5] Accordingly, throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Hamas sent suicide bombers into Israel in an attempt to derail the ongoing Oslo peace process between Israel and Fatah. Likewise, the Islamist group boycotted national elections, lambasting the PLC as a product of peace negotiations.[6] In response to Hamas’s murderous actions and wholesale rejection of diplomatic discussions, the United States, the European Union, and Israel repeatedly condemned Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Based off Hamas’s well-documented oeuvre of maximalist rhetoric and violence, it is tempting to conclude—as many did—that Hamas’s triumph in the 2006 election exposed the obstinate, anti-Semitic, and belligerent inclinations of the Palestinian populace. Considering that over three-quarters of eligible Palestinian voters cast ballots, Hamas’s triumph at first appears a forceful rejection of Israel’s right to exist. However, upon closer examination, it is clear that Hamas’s victory was predominantly indicative of rising discontent with Fatah’s authoritarian and inept regime. Frustrated by the pervasive corruption of the ruling elite, Palestinians flocked to Hamas’s calls for pragmatic socioeconomic and political reform. To be sure, Islamist hard-liners comprised Hamas’s core constituency, but many Palestinians did not vote for Hamas because of its ideological dogma. Overall, Hamas’s success in 2006 was not prima facie a setback in the peace process, nor was it emblematic of intrinsic fanaticism within Palestinian society. Rather, the 2006 PLC election elucidates that an electorate exasperated by the political and economic status quo can turn to outsiders promising change, even if those outsiders have a repugnant past. Hamas’s victory should not discourage American and Israeli policymakers from pursuing peace, but instead should underscore that Palestinian corruption and financial insecurity will need to be addressed in future diplomatic negotiations.

 

 
Before delving into why voters flocked to Hamas in 2006, it is necessary to understand why they did not remain loyal to Fatah. After all, elections are not a reflection of voters’ ideal political preferences, but instead are a choice between a small number of political entities. As evident in the current presidential campaign in the U.S., elections are not just about what people are voting for, but what people are voting against. By solely focusing on Hamas’s extremism, conventional accounts of the 2006 PLC election ignore the extent of voter antipathy towards Fatah.
 
In the wake of the Oslo Accords and piecemeal Israeli redeployment from the Palestinian territories, popular support for Fatah peaked in the mid-1990s.[7] In the 1996 election for the newly created PLC, a substantial majority of Palestinian voters backed Fatah’s vision for a peaceful, secular Palestinian state. Nevertheless, over the next ten years, Fatah metamorphosed into a repressive, nepotistic organization. Arafat established an extensive security force of over 40,000 men, cracking down on dissent and censoring the press.[8] Moreover, Arafat often gave key leadership positions to members of Fatah whom he had befriended while in exile in Tunisia, much to the chagrin of local Palestinian activists. At the expense of Palestinian economic development schemes, Arafat spent substantial sums of money bolstering this corps of right-hand men. After Arafat’s death in 2004, Mahmoud Abbas struggled to rein in the excessive graft, and Palestinians were quick to blame Fatah for extorting bribes and stealing money from public budgets. As of 2006, the salaries of the ever-expanding Palestinian bureaucracy swallowed up 60% of the government’s expenses.[9] According to studies by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), 74% of Palestinians in 2001 thought that the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority was corrupt; by 2003, this number had climbed to 81%, and by December 2005 a staggering 86% pointed to corruption in the PA.[10] By the time Palestinians went to the polls in the 2006 PLC election, more Palestinians thought Fatah was fraudulent and incompetent than ever before.

In a similar vein, the Fatah administration was unable to prevent economic recession in the West Bank and Gaza. During the Second Intifada, Israeli forces closed off Palestinian roads in an attempt to thwart further terrorist attacks. Whether warranted or not, Israel’s actions undeniably crippled the stagnant Palestinian economy. In 1999, a year before the outbreak of the Intifada, Palestinian unemployment was at 12%; five years later, almost 1/3 of Palestinians were out of work.[11]  From 1999 to 2006, GDP per capita plunged by nearly 30 percent, and by 2006, 43% of Palestinians were impoverished.[12] These economic conditions help explain why Fatah’s popularity dwindled during the Intifada, especially amongst the lower-middle class.

In addition, as casualties from the Intifada mounted and the peace process looked all but dead, Fatah’s emphasis on a two-state solution did not excite voters. From the perspective of Palestinians, Fatah’s negotiations with Israel had failed to secure an independent Palestinian state. In the face of increasing Israeli settlements and roadblocks, Fatah’s efforts looked counterproductive. Moreover, when Israel withdrew from Gaza in the summer of 2005, a PCPSR poll showed that only 11% of Palestinians attributed the disengagement to Fatah’s diplomacy, whereas 40% credited Hamas.[13] This is not to say that Palestinians supported Hamas’s maximalist approach. PCPSR exit polls from the 2006 election reveal that 59% of voters backed the peace process, including almost 40% of Hamas supporters themselves.[14] However, only 9% of the electorate said that peace talks were their most pressing concern. Out of this 9%, close to 70% voted for Fatah, but this proved not nearly enough. Voters cared more about Fatah’s corruption and inability to ameliorate financial hardship than about seemingly hopeless diplomatic negotiations with Israel.

Quite clearly, Fatah’s socioeconomic, political, and diplomatic fiascos doomed the party’s chances in 2006. Although the politically savvy Arafat was able to mitigate internal divides within the party, his successor Abbas had no such skill. Younger Fatah supporters clamored for reform, yet Fatah’s “old guard” was reluctant to abandon the nepotistic patronage system that had benefited them so well. Unable to unify the party, Abbas watched in dismay as various Fatah factions devolved into violence. In the party’s primaries for the 2006 election, rival gangs attacked polling stations and the “old guard” rigged the vote in Gaza. Subsequently, Abbas decided to nullify the results, raising further questions about Fatah’s integrity. In the months leading up to the general election, disgruntled Fatah voters assailed government buildings, destroyed polling locations, and kidnapped members of rival clans.[15] “This spectacle,” scholar Jamil Hilal concludes, “only reinforced the image of a deeply divided party riddled with corruption and of self-interested cadres fighting for personal privileges.”[16] In response to this petty infighting, several Fatah members of the PLC even switched their party affiliation to Hamas in advance of their re-election campaigns.[17] As the election loomed, Fatah was in complete disarray.

In spite of this prevalent discord, however, Fatah’s leading policymakers did not fully accept responsibility for the party’s past failures. Convinced that the party still embodied the hopes of Palestinian nationalists, Fatah’s self-assured ruling elite ran a lackluster campaign and failed to adjust to recent changes to the Palestinian electoral system. A year earlier, the PLC had altered the procedures for future elections: in this revised process, 66 of the PLC seats were apportioned based off the national vote for each party list, and the other 66 were distributed to individual candidates who ran on the ballot of a specific district.[18] Riven by internal dissension, Fatah initially splintered into two separate blocs. Although Fatah was able to coalesce most of its support into one unified national list, several renegade candidates ran as independents at the local level, fracturing Fatah’s support in competitive districts. For example, in Jerusalem, there were four Hamas candidates, six Fatah candidates, and nineteen “independent” candidates with close ties to Fatah.[19] Thus, although Hamas won a mere 36.5% of the district-wide vote, the remaining 63.5% was split between Fatah, Fatah-affiliated independents, and fringe leftist parties like the DFLP and PFLP. Fatah’s scattered voting allowed Hamas to take a staggering 68% of the district seats (45 out of 66); Fatah wound up with just 17 seats. In the national popular vote, Fatah performed much better, winning 41.4% of the vote and 28 out the 66 seats; the Hamas list won 44.4% of the vote and 29 seats.[20] Overall, it is important to remember that Hamas won the election with a plurality, not a majority, of the votes. Hamas’s disproportionate 74 to 45 seat majority over Fatah in the PLC was largely a product of structural failures within the crumbling, outdated Fatah regime.

 
Fatah’s toxic brew of incompetence, disunity, and pathetic campaigning helps explain why the party lost the election, but why did this popular frustration induce 44.4% of Palestinians to vote for Hamas’s national list? After the election, media outlets often cited the fiery, maximalist rhetoric of the Charter, portraying the Islamists’ support as an expression of Palestinian religious zealotry.[21] Undoubtedly, this narrative has much truth to it. Despite the fact that several party members pushed for a more moderate approach, Hamas’s radical 1988 Charter remained the party’s founding document. Likewise, the party continued to trumpet anti-Semitic stereotypes in its periodical, Filastin al-Muslima.[22] Moreover, Hamas’s platform for the 2006 election emphasized Islamic doctrines and sharia law, proclaiming that “Islam is the solution, and it is our path for change and reform.”[23] Like its 1988 Charter, Hamas’s platform underscored that “Historic Palestine is part of the Arab and Islamic land” and that Hamas is “defending one of the greatest ports of Islam.”[24] Predictably, 52% of voters who considered themselves “religious” voted for Hamas, compared to only 40% for Fatah.[25] Similarly, 37% of Hamas’s voting bloc denied Israel’s right to exist, and after Hamas’s victory, 1/5th of Palestinian society believed that Hamas should continue to advocate for the destruction of Israel, as espoused in the 1988 Charter.[26] Undoubtedly, Hamas’s maximalist, theological rhetoric inspired many Palestinians to support the Islamist group.

However, religious extremism alone cannot account for Hamas’s success: indeed, though Hamas’s core constituency was devout Muslims, it also won 19% of voters who were “not religious” and 5% of Palestinian Christians.[27] Furthermore, while many Palestinians voted for Hamas out of ideological hatred for Israel, it is also noteworthy that 63% of Hamas’s voters did not endorse the party’s refusal to recognize the Jewish state.[28]  Why, then, did these voters turn to Hamas?

On the campaign trail, Hamas effectively framed the election as a choice between itself and a corrupt, inefficient, and outdated regime. The Islamist group made a concerted effort to come across as a progressive alternative to Fatah, even changing its name to the "Change and Reform” party in advance of the election.[29] Although Hamas’s electoral platform referenced Islamic dogma, the party downplayed its more extremist, Islamist rhetoric. A significant portion of Hamas’s 2006 platform was spent discussing “public freedoms” and common-sense “administrative reform,” hardly the talk of revolutionary radicals.[30] Pledging a variety of anti-corruption initiatives, Hamas subtly rebuked Fatah’s double-dealing and profiteering. In a similar vein, Hamas promised to “stress transparency and accountability in dealing with public funds,” emphasizing that taxpayer money would go to economic development projects, not to fraudulent bureaucrats.[31] Moreover, Hamas denounced the excessive authority of the federal government, advocating for “political pluralism and the rotation of power.”[32] Outlining reforms to the judiciary and legislative branches, Hamas sounded less like a terrorist cabal and more like reform-minded technocrats.

As a whole, Hamas’s pre-election rhetoric mostly focused on political pragmatism, not ideology. Historian Menachem Klein points out, Hamas’s “2006 platform is written in an idiom that stands in sharp contrast to the high, idealistic language of the Islamic Charter of 1988.”[33] Hamas’s message of “change and reform” was certainly a far cry from the grandiose invocations of jihad and violent rebellion that pervaded Hamas’s earlier rhetoric. By shying away from its past militancy, Hamas was able to develop a broad-based coalition of Islamists and seculars alike. Though some Palestinians flocked to Hamas out of ideological concerns and opposition to Israeli settlements, others were enticed by Hamas’s promises for political reform. Exasperated by Fatah’s corruption, Palestinians welcomed Hamas’s clarion calls for accountability and good governance. According to PCPSR exit polls, almost 50% of Palestinian voters considered Hamas the most capable of taking on corruption, whereas only 37.2% thought that Fatah was.[34] Given that 24.6% of Palestinians viewed corruption as their “most important consideration” when voting, it should come as no shock that Hamas carried the day. Unsurprisingly, 71% of those who prioritized anti-corruption initiatives voted for Hamas. As Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian teacher at Al Quds University, reflected, “After 40 years {of Fatah rule}, it’s almost natural... That the opposition came from a radical Islamic group is unfortunate, but there was no other serious opposition.”[35] Leftist parties like the DFLP and PFLP also promised political reforms, but they had close ties to the Fatah-led PA and their anti-corruption measures were met with skepticism. As a party operating outside of the political establishment, Hamas could present itself as a viable alternative to an unscrupulous Fatah-led bureaucracy.

Moreover, Hamas recognized that the declining socioeconomic conditions in the West Bank and Gaza had shifted the priorities of the Palestinian electorate. As Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad pondered, “How can we promise Jerusalem and the right of return when we can’t deliver our people a loaf of bread?”[36] Consequently, Hamas’s 2006 electoral platform paid much greater attention to social welfare services than its 1988 Charter. Underscoring its “commitment to our steadfast masses,” Hamas devoted several articles to “economic, financial, and fiscal policies,” “labor issues,” “agriculture policy,” “women, children and family issues,” “health and environment policy,” “youth issues,” and “social policy.”[37] Hamas particularly concentrated on education, expounding upon the need to invest heavily in everything from elementary schools to universities.[38] In contrast, the 1988 Charter barely mentions education, and even then, only in a religious context.[39] Moreover, contending that it would free the Palestinian economy from Israeli control, Hamas re-directed its ideological hostility toward Israel into concrete socioeconomic proposals. In its section on “housing policy,” Hamas vowed to “tackle the problems of densely populated areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip” and “focus on the construction sector by eliciting easy repayment and financing.”[40] Furthermore, eager to increase tourism revenues, Hamas called for better sports stadiums and “more public green spaces.” With the Palestinian economy collapsing and no peace process on the horizon, Hamas’s emphasis on “social support networks” and “workable pension systems” had widespread appeal.[41] While only 40% of upper-class Palestinian voters cast their ballots for Hamas, 46% of lower-income voters supported the Islamic group.[42] Hamas’s message of “change and reform” also resonated with the working-class vote, as more merchants and professionals voted for Hamas than for Fatah. Aligning its rhetoric with the aspirations of Palestinian workers, Hamas offered enticing solutions to the economic problems that the ruling Fatah elite had been unable to solve.

Hamas’s socioeconomic platform was not just empty rhetoric; ever since 1988, Hamas had been providing extra-governmental social welfare services to lower-middle class Palestinians who had been left behind by Fatah’s policies. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Islamic charities (zakats) offered critical monetary support to impoverished Palestinians. Despite the fact that the PA’s Ministry of Awqaf was technically in charge of the zakats, Hamas’s grassroots movement had forged tight-knit relations with these charities, and many Hamas policymakers had served at the head of the organizations.[43] This extensive network of Hamas-affiliated zakats proved instrumental in Hamas’s rise, especially during the economic downturn triggered by the Second Intifada. Considering that Hamas’s charities often worked closely with housewives, it is no surprise that housewives were an integral component of Hamas’s voting bloc in 2006.[44] Hamas also offered alternatives to PA-run schools and social services. Funded by foreign donors, Hamas established youth organizations, orphanages, libraries, and athletic, medical, vocational, and educational facilities. Hamas organized mass weddings and child-care services for poor Palestinian couples as well.[45] These routine actions rarely made newspaper headlines like Hamas’s terrorism did, but they provide crucial context to Hamas’s electoral success. With the central Fatah government unable to provide basic social services to many Palestinians, Hamas was able to step in and address communities that felt neglected. Consequently, a vote for Hamas was not simply a vote for radical Islamism, but oftentimes a vote for food, jobs, financial security, and the other unmet needs of the average Palestinian.

These zakats and other programs laid the groundwork for Hamas’s political success. By 2006, Islamic organizations provided aid to 16% of the Palestinian population.[46] Thus, over the course of the depression in the early 2000s, lower-class Palestinians began to gravitate toward the Islamist party. In 1997, three years prior to the outbreak of the Intifada, approximately 1/6th of Palestinian society thought that Hamas protected the lower class; seven years later, a staggering 58% thought so, in juxtaposition to the 35% that believed Fatah fought for the poor.[47] Hamas rode this momentum to a monumental victory in the 2005 municipal elections, which vaulted Hamas policymakers into key positions of power at a local level and set the stage for Hamas’s triumph a year later.[48] Hamas’s charitable endeavors not only gave the organization a forum to spread its religious message, but they also were a lynchpin to the Islamists’ platform of socioeconomic progressivism.   

Additionally, both in 2005 and 2006, Hamas relied upon these Islamic social service organizations to win over grassroots support. At the start of its 2006 campaign, Hamas intentionally crafted a list of candidates from zakats, social welfare groups, and middle-class professions. This so-called “dream team” gave credence to Hamas’s focus on socioeconomic reforms.[49] Moreover, the Islamic party parlayed its connections with zakats into a critical campaign tool. According to Haim Malka of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Hamas drew on employees from its network of mosques, schools, zakat committees, and other charitable organizations for voter registration drives, door to door information campaigns, campaign rallies, and polling station workers.”[50] With an estimated 10,000 volunteers in Gaza, Hamas owed much of its success to its powerful “get out the vote” machine. Malka also hypothesizes that Hamas’s candidates used data from its affiliated zakats in order to target poorer Palestinian voters who were dependent on Islamic welfare organizations and would be most receptive to the party’s socioeconomic plans.

Perhaps most importantly, Hamas’s methodical voter mobilization easily outclassed the Palestinian Left’s less-than-stellar campaign tactics. Though the DFLP and PFLP promised similar socioeconomic reforms and appealed to much of Hamas’s voter base, the leftists struggled to win over the anti-Fatah vote.[51] With the fall of the Soviet Union, the Left was deprived of a hitherto reliable source of funding.[52] As a result, in the years prior to the 2006 election, leftist parties became increasingly unable to consolidate support from the lower and middle classes. Like Fatah, leftists were so fragmented in the 2006 race that they ran on several different tickets, paving the way for the better-organized Hamas candidates to squeak out a plurality of the vote. Despite being political outsiders, Hamas proved quite adept at nitty-gritty campaign politics.

 

 
Upon further analysis, Hamas’s triumph in 2006 was not necessarily an endorsement of the intransigent, anti-Semitic rhetoric of its 1988 Charter. Instead, Hamas’s success can largely be attributed to its populist calls for socioeconomic and political reform, which enticed Palestinian voters who were fed up with the status quo. Translating the grassroots support for its social welfare services into an effective campaign strategy, Hamas outsmarted its competitors. While Fatah was mired in internal divisions and split its vote, Hamas presented Palestinians with a clear-cut alternative to Fatah’s incompetency. Buoyed by these 2006 results, Hamas has remained a key political power-player ever since, particularly in the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, although some Hamas officials have pushed back against the 1988 Charter and advocated for more moderate policies, Hamas as a whole has shown little inclination to abandon its violent tactics. Nonetheless, in the wake of Hamas’s recent terrorism, one must consider the multifaceted roots to Hamas’s popularity before pigeonholing the Palestinians as fanatical hard-liners. Characterizing Hamas’s 2006 success as proof of Palestinian extremism is not just factually incorrect, but counterproductive for the peace process as well. This flawed narrative sows distrust between Palestinian, Israeli, and American policymakers, and distorts the aspirations of the Palestinian populace. Instead, it is far more useful to recognize that corruption and socioeconomic instability are still pressing problems that any comprehensive diplomatic negotiation will need to answer. If these issues go unaddressed, the more extreme voices within the Palestinian polity will continue to be able to turn popular unrest into electoral victories.

 

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[1] Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Public Opinion Poll, 19-24 December 2001, http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/252 (accessed April 24th, 2016).

[2] Steven Erlanger and Greg Myre, “Strong Showing Raises Doubts on Peace,” New York Times, Jan 26, 2006http://search.proquest.com.ezp- prod1.hul.harvard.edu/hnpnewyorktimes  /docview/93200172/6CAF7566D52748E0PQ/1?accountid=11311 (accessed August 29th, 2016).

[3] Quoted in Hamas Handbills Nos 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 14, 30, 31, 32, 33, 65, in Meir Litvak, “The Islamization of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: The Case of Hamas,” Middle Eastern Studies (1998), 151.

[4] Quoted in The Hamas Charter, 1988, p. 280. 273, file:///Users/Justin/Downloads/Hamas%20charter.pdf (accessed April 24th, 2016).

[5] Quoted in The Hamas Charter, 272.

[6] Khaled Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Summer 2006): 6, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jps.2006.35.4.6 (accessed April 24th, 2016).

[7] Jamil Hilal,  “Hamas's Rise as Charted in the Polls, 1994–2005,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 35, No. 3: 7, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jps.2006.35.3.6 (accessed April 24th, 2016).

[8] William Cleveland and Martin Bunton, A History of the Modern Middle East, 471, 463.

[9] Mandy Turner, “The Power of ‘Shock and Awe’: The Palestinian Authority and the Road to Reform,” International Peacekeeping (2009): 569, http://ejournals.ebsco.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/Direct.asp?AccessTo..., (accessed April 24th, 2016), 569.

[10] Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Public Opinion Poll, 19-24 December 2001, http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/252. (accessed April 24th, 2016); Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Public Opinion Poll, 3-7 April 2003, http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/248. (accessed April 24th, 2016); Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Public Opinion Poll, 6-9 December 2005. http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/237. (accessed April 24th, 2016).

[11] Turner, “The Power of ‘Shock and Awe,’”569.

[12] Pina, “Palestinian Elections,” 3.

[13] Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Public Opinion Poll, 7-9 September 2005, http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/238. (accessed April 24th, 2016).

[14] Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Results of PSR Exit Polls For Palestinian PLC Elections, 15 February 2006, http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/478. (accessed April 24th, 2016).

[15] Manal Jamal, “Beyond Fateh Corruption and Mass Discontent: Hamas, the Palestinian Left and the 2006 Legislative Elections,” British Journal (2013): 284, http://ejournals.ebsco.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/Direct.asp?AccessTo.... (accessed April 24th, 2016); Arnon Regular, “Hamas Aims to Win 60 Percent of PLC Seats,” Haaretz, 11 December 2005, http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/hamas-aims-to-win-60-perce... (accessed April 24th, 2016); Nathan Brown, “Aftermath of the Hamas Tsunami,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: 2, http://carnegieendowment.org/files /BrownHamasWebCommentary.pdf (accessed April 24th, 2016); Graham Usher, “The Democratic Resistance: Hamas, Fatah, and the Palestinian Elections,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Spring 2006): 24-25, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jps.2006.35.3.20 (accessed April 24th, 2016).

[16] Quoted in Hilal,  “Hamas's Rise as Charted in the Polls,” 17.

[17] Regular, “Hamas Aims to Win 60 Percent.”

[18] Aaron Pina, “Palestinian Elections,” CRS Report for Congress, 9 February 2006, p. 10, https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33269.pdf (accessed April 24th, 2016); Hilal, “Hamas's Rise as Charted in the Polls,” 17.

[19] Menachem Klein, “Hamas in Power,” Middle East Journal (2007): 448.

[20] Usher, “The Democratic Resistance,” 26; Hilal,  “Hamas's Rise as Charted in the Polls,” 17.

[21] Emanuele Ottolenghi, “Hamas Without Veils,” January 26, 2006, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/216611/hamas-without-veils-emanuel...

[22] Meir Litvak, “The Anti-Semitism of Hamas,” Palestine-Israel Journal, Vol. 12, No. 2&3 (2005) http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=345 (accessed May 8th, 2016).

[23] Quoted in Electoral Platform for Change and Reform, in Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” 14.

[24] Quoted in Electoral Platform for Change and Reform, in Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” 9, 8.

[25] Haim Malka, “Hamas Resistance and the Transformation of Palestinian Society,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 28 Dec, 2007: 5, http://csis.org/files/

publication/071228_haimmalka.pdf (accessed April 24th, 2016); Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Results of PSR Exit Polls.

[26] Angela Stephen, Most Palestinians Believe Hamas Should Change its Position on

Eliminating Israel, March 2, 2006, http://www.worldpublicopinion.org /pipa/articles/brmiddleeastnafricara/173.php (accessed April 24th, 2016).

[27] Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Results of PSR Exit Polls.

[28] Stephen, Most Palestinians Believe.

[29] Brown, “Aftermath of the Hamas Tsunami,” 8, Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” 10.

[30] Quoted in Electoral Platform for Change and Reform, in Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” 9.

[31] Quoted in Electoral Platform for Change and Reform, in Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” 11.

[32] Quoted in Electoral Platform for Change and Reform, in Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” 8.

[33] Quoted in Klein, “Hamas in Power,” 450.

[34] Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Results of PSR Exit Polls.

[35] Quoted in Daoud Kuttab, quoted in Steven Erlanger, “Victory Ends 40 Years of Political Domination by Arafat's Party,” New York Times, 26 January 2006. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/26/international/middleeast/26cnd-hamas.h... (accessed April 24th, 2016).

[36] Quoted in Ghazi Hamad, quoted in Usher, “The Democratic Resistance,” 21.

[37] Quoted in Electoral Platform for Change and Reform, in Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” 8,9.

[38]Electoral Platform for Change and Reform, in Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” 12,13.

[39] Klein, “Hamas in Power,” 452.

[40] Quoted in Electoral Platform for Change and Reform, in Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” 12.

[41] Quoted in Electoral Platform for Change and Reform, in Hroub, “A ‘New Hamas’ through Its New Documents,” 13.

[42] Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Results of PSR Exit Polls.

[43] Malka, “Hamas Resistance and the Transformation of Palestinian Society,” 2, 11.

[44] Hilal,  “Hamas's Rise as Charted in the Polls,” 15.

[45] Malka, “Hamas Resistance and the Transformation of Palestinian Society,” 6, 9, 10, 13.

[46] Malka, “Hamas Resistance and the Transformation of Palestinian Society,” 11.

[47] Hilal,  “Hamas's Rise as Charted in the Polls,” 12.

[48] Jamal, “Beyond Fateh Corruption,” 291.

[49] Quoted in Regular, “Hamas Aims to Win 60 Percent.”

[50] Quoted in Malka, “Hamas Resistance and the Transformation of Palestinian Society,” 18.

[51] Jamal, “Beyond Fateh Corruption,” 277, 279.

[52] Pina, “Palestinian Elections,” 5.