Photo Credit: IDF spokesperson

On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden, the founder of the al-Qaeda organization responsible for the deaths of approximately 3,000 Americans in the largest terrorist attack in the history of the United States on September 11, 2001, was killed by US Navy Seals. Most countries around the world welcomed the elimination of this prominent terrorist figure. Hamas, however, which had signed a unity agreement with the Palestinian Authority at the time, was one of the few authoritative voices that expressed opposition to the killing.

In 2005, Israel evacuated Gaza. Hamas won a majority of seats in Palestinian democratic elections that were held in January 2006, with the participation of American observers. In June 2007, Hamas violently seized total control over the Gaza Strip, using its own military forces, to conquer and “purify” the region of members of the Palestinian security agencies that were in control at the time. According to estimates, around 130 Fatah members were killed during that military confrontation. Hamas has ruled Gaza in an effective dictatorship ever since. It has been part of several unity governments under the leadership of Abbas, but these coalitions rarely hold.


According to Ismail Haniyeh, a senior political figure in the Hamas organization, bin Laden was one of the great jihadists of the Islamic nation. Haniyeh accused the United States of oppressing and shedding the blood of Muslims worldwide. The connection between Hamas and al-Qaeda can be seen via Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, one of the founders of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s spiritual mentor. Azzam was an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The founder of Hamas, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood as well.

According to some Arab sources, Azzam may have co-authored or solely written the August 1988 Charter of Hamas, which explicitly calls for the killing of Jews. Azzam included the full Hamas charter in a book he published entitled “Hamas: The Historical Roots and Covenant.” Azzam was assassinated on November 24, 1989, shortly after the publication of this book.

As far as I know, this book was one of the earliest sources to present the full Islamic covenant of Hamas and its implications for the Arab reader. In his book, Azzam justified the killing of Jews, relying on the antisemitic slander the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In his writings, Azzam portrayed Jews as a threat to humanity whose fate is destruction.

On February 23, 1998, al-Qaeda published a declaration of war on the West in the Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. The declaration was made by the United Islamic Front for the Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders. Jews were considered enemies of the believers, ahead of the Crusaders in the fundamentalist Islamic view. In their definition of Crusaders, organizations like Hamas included all Western countries, with the United States at the forefront. This declaration was issued by Saudi Sheikh Osama bin Laden, Egyptian Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri, and other leaders of the Egyptian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi Islamic Jihad.

The murderous ideology of killing Jews has, unsurprisingly, also been adopted by the organization ISIS (Daesh), which emerged from the al-Qaeda organization. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) developed from Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, which was founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 1999. Later, the organization changed its name to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

After the assassination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, he was succeeded by Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri, known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In 2014, the organization split from al-Qaeda due to ideological differences, particularly with the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri. After the split, the organization became known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and embarked on a campaign of brutal conquests with a militant and extremist interpretation of “Islamic supremacy.”

The murderous campaign of terrorism and conquest conducted by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria involved the occupation of territories comparable in size to England. The organization’s message was that anyone who is not Muslim faces death unless they are willing to live as dhimmis (protected non-Muslims). The organization abducted Yazidi women, raped them, and killed some of them after murdering the men who had fought against them.

The organization became known for beheading its enemies, including the execution of Arab activists who were abducted by its operatives. On September 2, 2014, Israeli-American journalist Steven Sotloff was beheaded on camera. His executioner was a member of the Islamic State.

In the propaganda of the Islamic State on the internet and in their magazine, they stated that being Jewish, whether one is an American citizen or not, is reason enough for execution. In the fundamentalist Islamist view as expressed by ISIS, Jews have no right to exist anywhere, with any nationality.

Hamas and the Islamic State organization are strongly and clearly linked. The ideological basis of Hamas and the global jihad organizations is the same as that of Salafia-Jihadia. In other words, Hamas’s ultimate goal is the renewal of the Islamic caliphate over the entire Arab-Muslim space while returning to the golden age of the Muslim world as it was during the time of the first ancestors (Al-Salaf).

Hamas believes, like al-Qaeda, that the purpose of the Islamic caliphate is to fight the infidels and interlopers, led by the Jews. They believe this to be a continuous jihad that is not limited in time. The basic concepts of fundamentalist Islam as expressed in the writings of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sayyid Qutb, Abdullah Azzam, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Fraj Hassan, Sadad al-Husseini and others are shared by all Salafi-Jihadi terrorist organizations.

The common denominator among spiritual ideologues of terrorist organizations is an extremely extremist perspective that calls for the killing of Jews wherever they are found. This perspective was expressed in Sayyid Qutb’s book “Our Fight with Jews,” which was published as long ago as the early 1950s. The killing of all Jews everywhere is a foundational belief among all terrorist organizations that have emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qutb’s book defines Jews as enemies of Allah who have been attempting to harm Islam from its inception and continue to do so to this day. According to Qutb, Jews are the worst enemies of Islam, even worse than idolaters. (The book was translated by this author and published by the Moshe Dayan Center.) The writings of Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, such as his book “The Red Cancer,” which explicitly addresses Jews, as well as other publications, serve as a cornerstone of the existing murderous ideology against Jews wherever they may be.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the influential spiritual leader of Hamas, has given the green light for the bloodshed of Jews inside all of Israel. According to Qaradawi’s writings, which are based on an Islamic interpretation of the verses about the sword in Surah At-Tawbah in the Quran, “God has bought from the believers their lives and their wealth in return for Paradise, that they fight for the sake of God, and slay and are slain” (Quran, 9:111). According to Qaradawi, this verse refers to terrorists who kill others and are killed in the process. “They will explode themselves in the midst of the enemy and kill (themselves) and kill others.” This is clear permission to carry out suicide bombings, including the killing of women and children. The approximately 1,500 bodies of Hamas terrorists killed inside Israel while trying to slaughter Israeli civilians on their home ground in October 2023 embody this ideological and spiritual directive of the organization.

Sheikh Qaradawi used the verse mentioned above and others to provide religious permission for the carrying out of suicide bombings in civilian population centers in Israel. In his book “Fiqh al-Jihad” (The Jurisprudence of Jihad) and in dozens of interviews, he explicitly refers to the Nazis and Hitler, arguing that they failed to exterminate the Jews. In another reference discussing religious permission to harm Israeli women and children, he defines all of Israel as a military entity, where children grow up to be soldiers, women serve in the army, and the elderly were once soldiers: hence, the blood of all Israeli civilians is legitimate.

On October 12-13, 2010, Hamas held a conference with a large number of participants that focused on the teachings and ideology of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The emotional speeches delivered at the conference, which was held at the Islamic University in Gaza (destroyed during the Iron Swords War), were compiled into a book published by Hamas. One of the editors is Ismail Haniyeh, who was Prime Minister of Hamas in Gaza at the time. Haniyeh praised Qaradawi’s genocidal religious rulings.

One of the speakers at the conference was Dr. Izzam Abd al-Hadi, a Quran professor. In a clearly articulated article, he describes the establishment of the State of Israel as part of a historical chain of evil that must be pulled out by the roots. He states, “The Jews cannot stop sowing destruction and devastation on the face of the earth until they are punished for their crimes of stealing the rights of the Palestinian people, whom they forcibly expelled from their land.”

In May 2013, Qaradawi visited Gaza and was an honorary guest of the senior Hamas leadership, who went out of their way to honor him. Ismail Haniyeh himself served as his personal driver during the visit. The Islamic movement, led by Sheikh Raed Salah, also expressed its support for Qaradawi’s visit, with Sheikh Salah emphasizing that he sees him as a leader of the Islamic nation and a role model to be emulated.

Over the years, reports have emerged, including on Hamas-affiliated websites, suggesting that members of the Islamic State in Sinai are also involved with the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. Hamas allowed all Salafi organizations to continue their activities in the Gaza Strip following its 2007 conquest, given their shared ideological base. Hamas has only intervened against them in rare cases when it was concerned about losing control or when the other groups tried to challenge Hamas as a rival authority over Gaza.

It is not surprising that in the current war, Hamas chose to use motorcycles and drones, just as ISIS fighters did when they seized extensive territories in Iraq and Syria. Hamas fully embraces the methods of mass destruction employed by global jihadist organizations. For a Hamas terrorist, there is no issue with killing women according to their religious law, as happened in the Beka’ah attack where young girls were slaughtered. Similar attacks were just carried out by Hamas terrorists in Israeli border towns. It is not surprising to find al-Qaeda literature on the bodies of dead Hamas terrorists. Nor is it surprising that Khaled Meshaal, one of Hamas’s founders and its former political leader, explicitly called on October 12 for the killing of Jews all over the world.

Meshaal’s call upon Muslims everywhere to hunt down and kill Jews is reminiscent of the United Islamic Front’s declaration of jihad against Jews and Christians, demonstrating the clear connection between Hamas, al-Qaeda, and ISIS. Those exposed to Hamas’s ideology over the years are not surprised that the organization has kidnapped Jewish women and children, beheaded infants and soldiers, and committed indiscriminate killing of the civilian population. Hamas has always proudly displayed on its websites its “heroes” who carried out suicide bombings that ended the lives of many innocent Israeli civilians.

The Gaza Strip has become the Islamic State of Hamas, complete with ISIS flags inside Gaza. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian national movement but is, in fact, a fundamentalist terrorist organization and a branch of the ISIS organization in the Gaza Strip.

Dr. Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Shaul Bartal served extensively in various security capacities in the West Bank. He was a lecturer in the Middle Eastern Studies and Political Studies Departments and is a senior research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar–Ilan University.


{Reposted from MEF}

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