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The Hamas Charter (1988)
On January 25, 2006, the day Palestinian Legislative Council elections were held, Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip and candidate for the post of foreign minister, stated that Hamas was committed to the ideology of its 1988 charter. He noted emphatically that “the movement [would] not change a single word in its charter,” which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, and would not become a purely political movement, but quite the opposite, it would continue its policy of “resistance” (i.e., terrorist attacks) (Reuters, Gaza, January 25).
The Hamas charter referred to by Mahmoud al-Zahar was formulated during the first year of the previous round of the violent Israeli-Palestinian confrontations (1987- 1993). It was edited and approved by Ahmad Yassin, the movement’s founder and leader (who died in a targeted killing in March 2004), and issued on August 18, 1988. It is Hamas’s most important ideological document and as of this writing, copies continue to be circulated in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories. It makes extensive use of Islamic sources (the Qur’an and hadith) to assure its religious Islamic basis.
The main points of the Hamas charter:
• The conflict with Israeli is religious and political: The Palestinian problem is a religious-political Muslim problem and the conflict with Israel is between Muslims and the Jewish “infidels.”
• All Palestine is Muslim land and no one has the right to give it up: The land of Palestine is sacred Muslim land and no one, including Arab rulers, has the authority to give up any of it.
• The importance of jihad (holy war) as the main means for the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) to achieve its goals: An uncompromising jihad must be waged against Israel and any agreement recognizing its right to exist must be totally opposed. Jihad is the personal duty of every Muslim.
• The importance of fostering the Islamic consciousness: Much effort must be invested fostering and spreading Islamic consciousness by means of education [i.e., religious-political indoctrination] in the spirit of radical Islam, based on the ideology of the Muslim brotherhood.
• The importance of Muslim solidarity: A great deal of importance is given to Muslim solidarity, one of whose manifestations is aid to the needy through the establishment of a network of various “charitable societies.”
• In addition, the charter is rife with overt anti-Semitism: According to the charter, the Jewish people have only negative traits and are presented as planning to take over the world. The charter uses myths taken from classical European and Islamic-based anti-Semitism.
The translation of the charter, which follows below, is of the 2004 edition, published in an ornate format in Qalqilya and issued to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the movement’s founding. Copies were among the documents found by IDF soldiers in the Islamic Club in Qalqilya on September 27, 2005.
Sheikh Ahmad Yassin’s picture appears on the front cover of the 2004 Qalqilya edition. A picture of his temporary successor, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Rantisi (who died in a targeted killing in April 2004) appears on the back cover. On the insides of the front and back covers there are pictures of prominent terrorists who died during the confrontation (shaheeds) and of jailed Qalqilya residents. Some of the Qalqilya terrorists took part in suicide bombing attacks, for example, Sa’id Hutri, who blew himself up at the Dolphinarium Club in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001, killing 21 civilians and wounding 83, the overwhelming majority of all of whom were teenagers; and ‘Abd al-Rahman Hammad, who was head of the Hamas terrorist-operative infrastructure in Qalqilya and who planned and organized the attack.
The Hamas Charter frontispiece, 2004 Qalqilya edition
 Supplements to and clarifications of the Qur’an, originally an oral tradition, later written down and codified.
 Various, slightly different versions can also be found on the Internet.