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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe LevantHamas: Dismantling the Dilemmas of Governance and Resistance

Hamas: Dismantling the Dilemmas of Governance and Resistance

Author: Bilal Shobaki

Affiliation: Al-Shabaka policy member 

Organization/Publisher: Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network

Date/Place: September 30, 2021 /New York, USA

Type of Literature: Opinion  

Word Count: 2691


Keywords: Israel, Palestine, Hamas, Palestinian Authority. Elections, Resistance, Governance, Sanctions


With the end of the Second Palestinian Intifada, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, expressed its willingness to participate in the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) municipal and legislative elections, ultimately winning many electoral contests. Hamas viewed its participation in official electoral politics as a way of strengthening the Palestinian resistance movement, as well as a means of bolstering the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the face of rising external pressures. For their part, the actors with the greatest influence on formal Palestinian politics saw the entry of Hamas into the formal political establishment as the fastest way to “tame” it. 

Based on these two perspectives, this commentary discusses the major dilemmas with which Hamas has attempted to reckon. It argues that, although the movement has partially overcome the doubts and allegations regarding its stance vis-à-vis democracy and its ability to govern while continuing to operate as a resistance movement, it faces an even more serious challenge: namely, the attempts to circumscribe its political role exclusively within Gaza, thereby forcibly isolating it from the rest of colonized Palestine. Hamas has worked to counter this isolation by adopting a two-fold strategy of expanding its forms of resistance and, second, gradually abandoning the strategy of self-governance under occupation.

By: Omar Alhajj, CIGA Research Intern



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