Al Fatah - Exile Palestinian group that
was founded in 1957 by Yassir Arafat.
Fatah was committed to retain full independence for Palestinians. Their
aim was direct military confrontation with
Israel, in order to win back lost land from the Jews. Al Fatah became
increasingly important in the 1960s, and gained full control over PLO
in 1969, which it had joined in 1967. At this period, PLO had started
to carry out guerrilla actions
Arafat is still the leader of Al Fatah, and Al
Fatah remains the most powerful group of PLO and therefore also in the
present state of Palestine. But its politics has changed drastically
from the military line of the 1950s and 1960s, into a pragmatic politics
for a Palestine with democracy, even if their idea is more limited than
what many Western observers and Palestinians would hope for.
Hamas - Palestinian Islamist political group,
especially active with military actions.
Hamas, which is not an abbreviation, is the nickname, and comes from
for 'zeal'. The full name, Harakatu l-Mujawamati l-Islamiya, means Islamic
Hamas was founded in 1988, andhad grown out of the Muslim
Brotherhood, from a branch that was active in Gaza with religious, social
educational work. The Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood continues to have
good relations, and the two groups can be looked upon as one entity.
leader was Shaykh Ahmad Yassin, who still holds the position despite
It was with the Intifada, the Palestinian public resistance that
had started the
year before, that brought Hamas into its present position.
Hamas has never been willing to accept any compromise with Israel
in article 11 in their charter they declare that no party has the right
to give up
any Palestinian land. Article 13 measures jihad as the only solution
to fight Israel, while other measures like international conferences
are "a waste of
time and a kind of child's play".
The jihad of Hamas has involved actions against moderate Palestinians
(especially members of PLO), in addition to attacks on Israelis.
In the charter of Hamas strong sentiments against the Western world
and Jews are clearly expressed. Quotations from the Holy Koran are frequently
Hamas is both a social and a militant group. Hamas is involved in welfare
and education of Palestinians, in vocational training, health care and
providing jobs to unemployed.
Hamas has become known for their suicide bombers and actionists. These
come from a spcial branch of Hamas, called Allotment of the Power of
cIzzu d-Dîni l-Qasam. Members of this brigade believes that death
in the name of
God is the highest of actions.
With the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in May
Hamas threatened with civil war, and continued with attacks on Israel.
A bomb in a
bus in Tel Aviv, where 22 were killed, and the detention of hundreds
activists by Israel, brought Hamas into the headlines of the world press.
Hamas has a lot of support among Palestinians, even if these numbers
quickly up and down depending on change in social conditions and politics
Palestine. With the Israeli killings of stone throwing Palestinians
in late 2000,
Hamas grew to become stronger than ever. At this time, Hamas could be
enough to represent a real threat to PLO's power position.