• HAMAS (in Arabic, an acronym for "Harakat Al-Muqawama Al-Islamia" -- Islamic Resistance Movement -- and a word meaning zeal) is the largest and most influential Palestinian militant movement.
• It is a radical Islamic fundamentalist organization which became active in the early stages of the intifada, operating primarily in the Gaza District but also in Judea and Samaria.
• The group formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
• Since attaining power, Hamas has continued its refusal to recognize the state of Israel and has used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel.
• The Gaza Strip is an armed camp, ruled with an iron fist by a repressive Hamas regime that has not only repeatedly pledged itself to the annihilation of Israel and the torpedoing of any prospects for Middle East peace, but has made good on its pledges by firing approximately 10,000 missiles, rockets, and mortar bombs at Israeli civilians over the past several years for the express purpose of killing or wounding those civilians or, at a minimum, terrifying them.
• The United States, the European Union, and the international community have recognized that Hamas is a terrorist enterprise, which surely is beyond dispute.
*Source-Council on Foreign Affairs and Christian Science Monitor