Despite its success as the first Muslim Brotherhood organization to control and govern territory, and in part because of that success, Hamas today is under significant stress. In the West Bank, Hamas faces a severe security crackdown that has driven the movement underground. And in Gaza, Hamas has been forced to choose between engaging in acts of violence or attempting to effectively govern the territory it took over by force of arms. The result is an acute ideological tension within Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, which has been forced to suspend the resistance for which it is named and by which it defines itself. For some, the cessation of violence, however temporary, is a sign of moderation within Hamas. For others, Hamas’s actions, including continued radicalization and weapons smuggling into Gaza, better denote the movement’s true intentions and trajectory. To be sure, Hamas is not a monolithic movement. But the one constant among its various currents is its self-identification as a resistance movement.
THe Hamas charter states that it is ” is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and an Israeli TV station has reported that Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” have traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. An early media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations. Last June, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons. Hamas is supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood and a NEFA Foundation report has documented the Hamas fund-raising activities of the Union of Good, a coalition of Islamic charities linked to the Brotherhood that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. Previous posts have also discussed the worldwide campaign orchestrated by the global Brotherhood against Israeli actions in Gaza during the recent conflict. An earlier post reported a statement by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood claiming that Hamas was “an independent entity.”