Who is Hamas?

Monthly Report: March 2006

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By Ahser Intrater

On January 25, 2006, the radical Islamic party, Hamas, won a landslide election for the seats in the Palestinian parliament, capturing 80 out of the 132 seats. This election has had complex issues, and will have complex results. Here are some factors to consider:

1. One Israeli correspondent described the choice between Hamas and Fatah (Arafat’s and Abu Mazen’s party) as a choice between a snake and a scorpion. Hamas is made up of “dark fanatics, terrorists under the cover of the Koran, who have wrapped themselves in a thin layer of personal integrity and modesty,” while Fatah is “plagued with continuing moral decadence, financial corruption and violence, crumbling and impotent.” (Nahum Barnea, Yediot, Musaf Sabbat, J27 p2.)

2. American President George Bush has clarified that the US will not have diplomatic relations, nor support financially, a Hamas-based government so long as they hold to their position calling for the destruction of Israel, the continuing use of terrorism, and the  refusal to turn their weapons over to an official Palestinian Authority  militia.



3. Hamas, like Hizballah in Lebanon, is supported by Iran, both financially and ideologically. From the Iranian “Jihad” worldview, Hamas and Hizballah represent two sides of a “pincer” movement, squeezing and attacking Israel.


4. While both Hamas and Fatah are Islamic, Hamas is more motivated by Islamic religion; while Fatah is motivated by liberation politics. While both Hamas and Fatah support terror, Hamas puts more strategic emphasis on terror as a means of fighting Israel. While both hate Israel, Fatah has professed willingness to negotiate with Israel for a compromise solution; while Hamas has claimed a total denial of Israel’s right to exist.

5. Despite these ideologies, the most significant factor influencing so many Palestinians to vote for Hamas was the economic one. Fatah is seen as corrupt by the average Palestinian, whereas Hamas is seen as more trustworthy to use funds at their disposal to build schools, welfare institutions, and social stability. As much as the Palestinians hate Israel, they are more motivated to vote for Hamas out of desperation to provide the basic day-to-day needs for their families.

6. At this point, a coalition government seems likely, with Abu Mazen as President keeping control over the Palestinian security forces (police) and over the diplomatic portfolios (relations with Israel and other nations), with Hamas controlling the media, education, treasury, religion, and interior ministries. This will probably mean a change for the worse in their news broadcasts, Palestinian school textbooks, and an increase in funding for mosques and Muslim propaganda. 

The Elections: The head of Hamas,
Ismail Haniyeh (left), and
Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas cast their votes in the Palestinian elections

Victorious Hamas supporters celebrate election results
Angry Fatah activists demand that the central committee of their defeated party resign

7. After the miraculous victory of Israel in the 1967 “Six Day War,” Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (founder of Hamas) sought a new approach for Palestinian liberation. They built daycare centers, school rooms, social clubs, and eventually the Islamic University in Gaza. Their first acts of violence were not against Israelis, but against “Western” influenced Palestinians. On December 14, 1987, Hamas was officially formed. They adopted the strategy of terror against Israel, and on April 16, 1993, the first Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up at the Hulah restaurant in the Jordan Valley. In the following years, hundreds of Israelis were murdered by Hamas suicide terrorists. (Ron Shaked, Yediot, ibid.)

8. Hamas is in favor of “Sheriyah,” Islamic religious law becoming the law of the state of Palestine. This would require all women, for instance, to wear cloths covering their heads, hair, and necks. It would demand Islamic education at all schools and make other religions outlawed. How could this “Sheriyah” become law? A simple 2/3rds majority of the parliament would be needed to change the constitution of the Palestinian Authority. Less than 2/3rds majority of a legislation could be vetoed by the President (Abu Mazen). There are 132 seats. 88 would be required. Hamas has currently 80. All they would need is another 8 votes.

9. Armed Fatah gangs clashed with Hamas youth over control of the P.A., both trying to take over the parliament building in Ramallah. More clashes could be expected between Fatah and Hamas in the future.

10. While the West has been demanding “democratic elections” in the Muslim world, what is needed more is democratic “values,” such as freedom of the press, freedom of religion, civil rights, independent judiciary, open education, etc. If not, Muslim forces
(like Hamas), which are anti-democratic, will use the democratic process to take over the government and then end all democratic rights for the citizens. This is particularly dangerous in Egypt and Jordan, where the two regimes have been more cooperative with Israel, yet Egypt’s president (Mubarak) and Jordan’s king (Abdullah II) are not elected democratically. Elections in their countries could give rise to a more radical Islamic regime, as it did among Palestinians and in Iran.

11. The person in Israel who has the most to gain from Hamas’ victory is Israeli prime minister candidate Benjamin Netanyahu. Palestinian terrorism and hatred of Israel usually cause a reaction among Israeli voters to move more to the right.

12. Ironically, some Israeli military strategists believe that the Hamas election might just improve the security situation, in the sense that the Palestinian position will be more defined. For the two decades, Fatah has been playing a dishonest game in claiming that they were refraining from terror and negotiating with Israel, while all the time, they were allowing Hamas, Jihad and G’dudei El Aksa to carry out terror attacks. If now their government coalition with Hamas sponsors a terror attack, then the Palestinian Authority becomes directly responsible for the attacks, and thus stronger military actions can be taken by Israel against the terror.

13. Also ironically, there are some Israeli political analysts who claim to see a possibility that Hamas will ultimately be more able to pull off some sort of agreement with Israel, which could never have happened while Hamas was in the opposition. Including them in the Palestinian Authority, these analysts assert, might make the P.A. more able to take a practical step. The same is true in Israel, that a right wing government is actually more able to make concessions; if a left wing government tried to make concessions, the right wing would oppose it. By the nature of being in the opposition, there is a tendency to be more radical; and when that same opposition group finds itself in authority, their positions have to be moderated by the practical reality and responsibility before them.

14. The Hamas election precipitated a meeting this week between Israeli Knesset members (led by Yuri Stern) and leaders of all the different streams of Christianity in Israel. This included Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical and Christian Zionists (just not Messianics, of course.) They discussed the need for Jews and Christians to stand together against Islamic extremism, which seeks both of their destructions.

15. The Russian government has invited representatives of Hamas to come to Moscow for diplomatic discussions. This flies in the face of the appeals of the U.S. and Israel not to recognize Hamas unless they agree to recognize Israel and denounce terror. For Russia this is an opportunity to show themselves as a major political force in the Middle East. When we combine this with their sales of weapons to other Islamic terrorist supportive nations, along with the declarations of Iran denying the Holocaust and calling for the destruction of Israel, we begin to see the first fruits of the bizarre coalition of nations (Ezekiel 38-39, Jeremiah 50-51, Isaiah 13, Joel 2-3) that are prophesied to attack Israel in the battle of Armageddon.

16. Zechariah 14:2 states that “I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem.” Describing this same apocalyptic event, Revelation 19:19 speaks of “the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together against Him (Yeshua/Jesus) who sat on the horse and against His army.” At the time of the Second Coming, the forces of Islam and Humanism will ally themselves together to fight against Israel and against Yeshua. That must mean that before this war takes place, true Christians will move closer in alliance with Israel, and the nation of Israel will move closer in faith to Yeshua as their Messiah. This double “alignment” is already started today, for both good and bad. We need to hasten the good and to bind the bad part of the alignment.

17. One of our concerns in prayer should be the attempt of an Islamic government to stop the spread of the Gospel among the Palestinians. Let us pray for the true Palestinian Christians to be strong and continue to be a light for the Gospel, despite all opposition and persecution.  Also, let us pray for freedom among the Israeli population to bring our people back to faith in God and His Word, upon which this nation was founded.
Asher Intrater is director of Revive Israel Ministries. For more articles and information, see their website at
Our congregation travels to the desert!

Instead of having our regular Sabbath service, members of our congregation boarded two buses one to Arad and the other to Beersheva in the Negev desert.  Both congregations have recently suffered violent persecution from the ultra-Orthodox sect of the Gur Hassidim.  The Arad believers have been harassed and persecuted daily for the last two years.

Arriving in Arad, our bus was greeted by Pastor Yakim Figueras (right) and a Gur Hassid who was screaming insults. When he saw our camera, he became quite meek.  We thought something had happened when we saw the ambulance, but were informed that an ambulance driver who was on duty is a member of the congregation.

It was impossible to get a good picture of this pioneer congregation as the room is in
the shape of a large “L”, plus there were people sitting behind us in the second floor hallway.  With our group of about 25 that came to Arad, we joined our fellow believers in filling the room with worship, and afterwards, fellowship.
A packed bus and several car loads from our congregation arrived to join in solidarity with the Beersheva congregation, Nahalat Yeshua, and Pastor Howard Bass.  This congregation, numbering about 150, witnessed a total disruption of their service and vandalism of the premises by the Gur Hassidim a few weeks ago. This time, with about a hundred of our own Tiferet Yeshua members in attendance, we experienced a wonderful spirit of bonding and warm fellowship.

Pastor Howard invited Ari to give the message to our combined congregations.

Each of the children’s classes witnessed a sudden overflow of children as our
kids met theirs!

Cartoonists vs Islamo-Fascists
Will the West Stand Up or Appease?
By Ron Cantor
I believe that the Danish journalists acted in poor taste in drawing a less than flattering picture of Mohammed. As much as I have a keen distaste for Islam as a religion, it was a stupid thing to do. How would I feel if someone painted a repugnant depiction of the Messiah - as Andres Serrano did in 1987? Or what if someone popularized the theory that Yeshua was married to Mary Magdalene as Dan Brown did in the amazingly popular book, The Da Vinci Code.

However, the difference is not in the outrage that religious people feel when their religion has been demeaned, but in the over-the-top response that we now see. And for this reason, even though I think the cartoonist provoked his audience, the free world cannot give into the intimidation.

When The Last Temptation of Christ (movie in the 80s that defamed the Messiah) came out, I was outraged. Yet I understood that the beauty of a free country is that people are free to make such movies - even as I am free to go to the movie theatre and protest the same movie - which I did.

However I was not free to burn down the movie theatre, kill the actors or threaten those who did go to see it. And that my friends, is why we cannot be intimidated by Islam. Intimidation is the power behind terrorism. (Read that last sentence again.) Intimidation is the only language these people know. And we cannot give into them, lest they win.
Don’t eat Danish pastry - fine. Burn down the Danish embassy - not fine. You will notice also that the protests in the US are quite different than those in Syria, or even Europe.

Why? Because even American Muslims, for the most part, have embraced American life and culture - at least to the degree that they appreciate the First Amendment. They will take to the airways and express their outrage, but they won’t burn down things and kill people. An Arab or Muslim is freer in America than he is in Syria, Iran or under the new Hamas-led Palestinian Authority - and he knows it!

And the utter hypocrisy of the outraged Islamic community can be seen in their own cartoons. For years, Arabs across the Middle East have joined their Nazi brethren in depicting Jews as bloodthirsty murderers. Jews have gotten used to the nonsense and so rather than burn down the Syrian embassy, we laugh at the absurdity of these caricatures.
But Jews, Americans and Westerners all over the world have been portrayed by Arab cartoonists as everything evil - without remorse or apology. While I don’t think it is proper to make fun of anyone’s religion (yes, it is proper to debate it, disprove it and refute it - but always with humility and respect.)

I applaud the European journalists who refuse to back down. I have seen how reporters in the Gaza Strip and West Bank carefully word everything they write so as not to offend the hypersensitive Palestinian leadership, while Israel sits by and lets lies be spoken about her by the very same journalists. While we should not lower ourselves to their depravity and intolerance, neither should we back down from this fight.

This is not about cartoons that are offensive; this is about whether or not the West is finally going to stop being intimidated by a less powerful enemy. (Do they really think they are appeasable?) The Islamo-fascist community has become the child in the classroom who gets away with murder (literally in this case) because the teacher knows that if she corrects him, he will react violently. He is a child, but rules the classroom through intimidation.

It is time for the Western nations to stop placating Islamic extremists. If they do, they will only empower them. Next time, they won’t stop with embassies, but go after ambassadors.
Ron and Elana Cantor are working with Asher Intrater to plant a new congregation near Jerusalem.
Thank God for You!

When there is a special need anywhere in Israel, we know we can come to our partners and you always respond!
The ultra-Orthodox are persecuting the believers in Arad and Beersheva from several different directions, attempting to remove the Messianic presence in those cities.
They are using political connections, court cases, attempts to deport believers and physical intimidation.  They have even sued the Arad police for not letting them have daily demonstrations with hundreds of ultra-Orthodox in front of the homes of believers!  We are helping the Arad believers with their legal costs to combat the persecution. 
Now the Beersheva believers have decided to take a stand.  They have hired believing lawyers to help them seek relief from physical harassment.  We would like to assist them with a gift of $5,000* for legal costs.
If you wish to help with this fund, please mark your contribution on the donation page! 

*If more than $5,000 is donated, Maoz will distribute your funds for other similar projects.

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