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They are determined to remove Jews from the area, and how they do it does not matter.
Hamas has used suicide bombings as a weapon and attack since 1993 (Editors, 2007). They use suicide bombers in a majority of cases, but have also claimed to use "mortars, short-range rockets, and small arms fire" (Editors, 2007). Their criminal activity includes these attacks, but most of their funding comes from legitimate sources, including private donors and Iran. There are also some Muslim charities in the west who fund the social aspects and work of Hamas, and now that Hamas has won elections, it will have public funds at its disposal, as well (Editors, 2007).
Hamas has wide community and regional support by Palestinians and others who support the creation of a Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel. However, support for the group dropped after the recent attacks by Israel in retaliation for Hamas attacks. This has happened in the past, as well, so support tends to ebb and flow for the group, but they never disappear.
Training and recruitment relies heavily on extremely religious young men who desire a Palestinian state. The Editors of the Council on Foreign Relations note, "What they have in common, studies say, is an intense hatred of Israel. After a bombing, Hamas gives the family of the suicide bomber between $3,000 and $5,000 and assures them their son died a martyr in holy jihad" (Editors, 2007). Often the young men have jobs and decent lives, but their belief that they die a martyr and honor their family often compels them to jihad. Training includes religious teaching, lectures, and even long fasts to prove their dedication. They are watched for a week before the planned attack to ensure they do not change their minds. The bomber makes a video statement to the world, and then watches it for inspiration. This basically encompassed the training (Editors, 2007).
There is evidence Hamas has completed over 350 terrorist attacks in their history, killing over 500 people since the first attack in 1993. For example, one attack in 2002 targeted families on vacation. A reporter notes they were responsible for "The March 27, 2002, terrorist attack on the first night of Passover at the Park Hotel in Netanya, Israel, indiscriminately killing 30 and wounding 140 innocent men, women, and children" (Gerson, 2006, p. B04). Other attacks have not been as successful, but have still taken lives.
Obviously, the most heavily targeted area for Hamas is Israel. Their goal to gain a new Palestine at the cost of Israel makes Israel the prime target and the motivating force for suicide bombs and other attacks. These targets are vulnerable because the suicide bombers are so determined, and acting alone, it is much easier for them to evade detection. So far, Hamas has remained out of global terrorist attacks, centering mainly on Israel and the Middle East. This does not mean that if the U.S. continues to support Israel and invade the Middle East that this would remain the same. Future threats from Hamas continue to grow, and no country is safe from terrorist attack. All governments and targets are vulnerable, because if a terrorist organization wants to attack, they will find a way to evade security and carry out their mission.
Hamas is a serious threat to the world because they have been together long enough to develop cognizant training and attack methods, and they are now in a position of political power in the Middle East. They are dangerous, and they can recruit numerous volunteers because of their religious power and persuasion. They are not to be trusted, and it seems the Middle East will see more violence with them in power.
Darwish, a. (2006, March). After Hamas victory, now Israelis go to the polls. The Middle East 12+.
Editors. (2007). Hamas. Retrieved from the Council on foreign relations Web site: http://www.cfr.org/publication/8968/16 May 2007.
Gerson, a. (2006, February 12). Hamas and Libya: A world apart. The Washington Times, p. B04.
Mishal, S., & Sela, a. (2000). The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, violence, and coexistence. New York: Columbia University Press.
Monshipouri, M. (1996). The PLO rivalry with Hamas: The challenge of peace, democratization and Islamic radicalism. Middle East Policy, 4(3), 84-105.
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