The Hamas Charter:
A Covenant for Israel's Destruction
The Hamas Charter ("The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement") rejects all peace talks with the State of Israel and stresses the terrorist organization's commitment to destroy Israel through a long-term holy war (jihad). The 1988 charter - an overtly antisemitic and anti-Western document which expresses Hamas' radical Islamic outlook - is valid till today.
The charter's extremist stance is uncompromising with regard to Israel. It expresses total opposition to any agreement or arrangement that would recognize Israel's right to exist.
Hamas' charter views jihad as the means to capture all of "Palestine" from the Jews and to destroy the State of Israel. It states that Palestine is comprised of sacred Islamic land and it is strictly forbidden to give up an inch of it because no one (including Arab rulers) has the authority to do so. Repeated statements from Hamas leaders define Palestine as including not just the West Bank and Gaza but all of the current State of Israel.
In the introduction to the charter, there is a quote attributed to Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna that "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it...." Hamas' terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians are seen as links in the jihad chain.
It views the "problem of Palestine" as a religious-political Muslim issue, and the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation as a conflict between Islam and the "infidel" Jews. Article 15 of the charter states that the jihad to liberate Palestine is the personal duty of every Muslim, an idea expounded by al-Qaeda founder Abdallah Azzam.
Overt and vicious antisemitism, inspired by both Islamic and European sources, is articulated extensively throughout the document. The all-out jihad against the Jewish people is legitimized by demonizing the Jews and warning that they want to take over not only the Middle East but also the rest of the world.
The document includes antisemitic myths directly lifted from "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" regarding Jewish world control, while the Jews are also held responsible for all world and local wars, as well as prominent revolutions. Anti-Jewish conspiracy theories abound. The Jews are also presented as worthy only of humiliation and lives of misery. That is because, according to the charter, they angered Allah, rejected the Koran and killed the prophets.
With regard to international relations, the charter manifests an extremist worldview which is as anti-Western as that of global jihad organizations.
The charter points out the ideological difference between Hamas, with its radical Islamic worldview, and the secularly-oriented Palestine Liberation Organization, but does refer to the need for Palestinian unity to face the Jewish enemy.
In recent years, senior Hamas officials have continued to emphasize their commitment to the terrorist organization's charter and have stated that they will never change a single word of it.
The Hamas Charter: Excerpts
1. Calls for the Destruction of Israel
- "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory)." [Introduction]
- "The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine…" [Article 6]
2. Calls for Jihad
- "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad." [Article 13]
- "The Slogan of the Islamic Resistance Movement: Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes." [Article 8]
- "In face of the Jews' usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised." [Article 15]
- "The Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is an Individual Duty: " "The day that enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In face of the Jews' usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised." [Article 15]
- "The basic structure of the Islamic Resistance Movement consists of Moslems who have given their allegiance to Allah whom they truly worship, - "I have created the jinn and humans only for the purpose of worshipping" - who know their duty towards themselves, their families and country. In all that, they fear Allah and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors, so that they would rid the land and the people of their uncleanliness, vileness and evils." [Article 3]
3. Rejection of Peace Negotiations
- "Leaving the circle of struggle with Zionism is high treason." [Article 32]
- "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that." [Article 11]
- "Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question…. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitrators." [Article 13]
4. Antisemitism and Conspiracy Theories
- "The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."" [Article 7]
- "The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying." [Article 32]
- "For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained. They took into consideration the causes affecting the current of events. They strived to amass great and substantive material wealth which they devoted to the realization of their dream. With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there. You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources." [Article 22]
- "The Zionist invasion is a vicious invasion. It does not refrain from resorting to all methods, using all evil and contemptible ways to achieve its end. It relies greatly in its infiltration and espionage operations on the secret organizations it gave rise to, such as the Freemasons, The Rotary and Lions clubs, and other sabotage groups. All these organizations, whether secret or open, work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions. They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam. It is behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion." [Article 28]
- "Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious….The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realized." [Introduction]
- "Peoples should augment by further steps on their part; Islamic groupings all over the Arab world should also do the same, since all of these are the best-equipped for the future role in the fight with the warmongering Jews." [Article 32]
5. The Conflict with Israel as a Religious Struggle
- "The Movement's program is Islam." [Article 1]
- "It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Moslem generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis." [Article 15]
- "The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine. Moslem Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times." [Article 2]
- Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgment Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till Judgment Day?" [Article 11]