Four years after its takeover of Gaza, in June 2007, Hamas has successfully established an independent entity there, separate from the West Bank. Since the takeover, Hamas has managed to strengthen itself economically (though its resources have been directed more towards reinforcing the movement than towards promoting the wellbeing of the population). It has also managed to consolidate its military strength, and has continued to prepare itself for the next confrontation with Israel. For the time being, however, the movement has found it beneficial to maintain a tahdiah (lull) with Israel, though occasionally the tahdiah is disrupted, not only by other organizations in Gaza but also by Hamas itself. The Hamas regime in Gaza is a dictatorial one, characterized by numerous violations of human rights. Its policies and draconian rule have caused a drop in its popularity among the public (a fact of which the movement’s leaders are aware), but not to the point of threatening its rule. The movement’s relations with other forces in Gaza – especially with the Salafi jihadists, the Islamic Jihad movement, Fatah and the Popular Front – are strained, and internal conflicts within the movement have surfaced as well. In April-May 2011, Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement, but there are numerous doubts regarding its chances of success. Over the next week MEMRI will be releasing this report in seven chapters, including chapter one today. Chapter 1– Fatah-Hamas Relations Chapter 2 – Hamas’s Military Conduct vis-à-vis Israel Chapter 3 – Hamas’s Administration of Gaza Chapter 4 – Internal Conflicts within Hamas Chapter 5 – Islamization of Gaza Chapter 6 – Hamas’s Relations with Islamic Jihad, Salafi-Jihadis Chapter 7 – Hamas’s Relations with EgypFollow the series
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