The Hamas Document of Principles: Can a Leopard Change Its Spots?

 

By: Gilead Sher, Liran Ofek, Ofir Winter

 

Hamas’s “Document of General Principles and Policies,” issued in May 2017, outlines the organization’s current ideology. The document intends to resolve tensions between Hamas’s traditional philosophy, as put forth in its 1988 Covenant of the Resistance Movement, and the array of practical challenges facing the organization that has ruled the Gaza Strip over the past decade. The document emphasizes the organization’s national orientation over its Islamic bent, and aims both to position Hamas as legitimate leadership in the Palestinian and international arena and to pave the way for mending relations with Egypt. However, leaders in Ramallah and Cairo have not rushed to change their attitude toward Hamas, and demand additional concessions from the organization, accompanied by concrete measures. Likewise, the document does not reflect real change vis-à-vis Israel: Hamas refuses to recognize Israel, lay aside its “resistance” weapon, and become a full partner in a two-state solution.

 

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