Do Palestinians support Hamas

Who is Hamas and who supports it?

"Radically Islamic" - this keyword is used again and again in some German media in connection with Hamas, which has been politically in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007. In the course of the most recent escalation, this attribution has changed: there is now more talk of an Islamist terrorist organization. Most western states also come to a similar assessment.

Exceptions are Norway and Switzerland, which, with reference to their neutrality, also maintain contacts with Hamas. Other countries go much further in their support.

How did Hamas get where it is today?

Hamas was founded in the second half of the 1980s and was already in opposition to the PLO, Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization. It is controversial whether it was even built with money from the Israeli government as a counterweight in its early days - a scenario that all sides vehemently reject today. Unlike the PLO, Hamas denies Israel its right to exist; the Hamas emblem shows the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and, between Palestinian flags, the outline of an undivided Palestinian state, which also includes the Israeli state.

Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat: Hamas did not recognize the Oslo peace agreement

Arafat made peace with Israel in 1993 as part of the Oslo Process, ending the First Intifada. Hamas did not recognize this historic step and continued to carry out attacks on Israeli territory. In 2006, Hamas won an absolute majority in elections in the Gaza Strip, which it consolidated with a coup-like action a year later. The moderate Fatah party under Mahmoud Abbas rules in the West Bank, which is why the Palestinian territories are divided not only geographically but also politically.

From Gaza, Hamas continued its "self-defense" attacks on Israel and had three violent exchanges with the Israeli army: in 2008/09, 2012 and 2014.

Who supports Hamas?

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and is largely economically isolated with fortified borders with Israel and Egypt in the south and east and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. Large parts of the population live in abject poverty and depend on humanitarian aid - which, however, was severely scaled back under pressure from the then US President Donald Trump.

When Hamas attacks, the people serve as a human shield. The rockets are often fired from residential areas or command centers are set up in residential buildings. Hamas keeps digging smuggling tunnels for arms transport, especially in the direction of Egypt. However, the government there has no interest in allowing this.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on a visit to Gaza in 2012, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is waving to the right

One of Hamas' most important donors and foreign allies is Qatar. In 2012, the emir was the first head of state to visit the Hamas leadership in Gaza. The small Gulf state has so far transferred more than 1.5 billion euros. However, Israel hopes that Qatar, like several other Arab states, will join the "Abraham Accord" initiated by Trump and establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

Another important ally of Hamas is Turkey. Immediately before the latest rocket attacks by Hamas, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had promised to support Hamas’s political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, in an interview.

There are also a number of non-governmental initiatives and associations, including from Germany. According to the magazine "Der Spiegel", the donations collected here by Hamas-affiliated organizations run into the millions.

Hamas fired at least 1,800 rockets from Gaza within a few days

Where do the missiles come from?

The rocket fire that Hamas has aimed at Israel since Monday exceeds the previous high points of the escalation in numbers alone: ​​on Tuesday, Hamas announced that it had fired 130 rockets within a few minutes. With this amount even the Israeli air defense system "Iron Dome" reaches its limits. As of Friday, the Israeli army counted more than 1,800 bullets fired from Gaza. Every defense missile of the "iron dome" is much more agile, more precise and certainly more expensive than that of the attacker.

For a long time, the Hamas bullets came mainly from Iran. The analyst Fabian Hinz, who specializes in rockets in the Middle East, told the German public television broadcaster ZDF: "It was known that various groups have massively expanded their rocket arsenal. And also that the number of rockets available to them is in the thousands, has been confirmed several times by Israeli sources. " The Jerusalem Post quoted intelligence sources this week that the size of the Hamas arsenal was up to 6,000 rockets. In addition, there would be up to 8,000 other rockets in the possession of the Islamic Jihad group, some of which cooperates with Hamas.

According to Hinz, the Iranian missiles had long been smuggled through Sudan and finally from the Egyptian side into the Gaza Strip. However, this has not been so easy since the Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir was removed from power in 2019. In the meantime, Hamas is said to be producing the majority of its rockets itself - partly with foreign aid - on site in the Gaza Strip.