Hamas, the Arabic acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement, was founded in 1987 after an eruption of protests and riots following Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Its founder, Cheik Ahmed Yassin, was quadriplegic, almost blind and used a wheelchair due to a sports accident at the age of 12. Hamas claims to be a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood – a transnational Sunni Islamist organization founded in Egypt by Islamic scholar and school teacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928.
Yassin formulated the Hamas Charter which envisioned an Islamic state comprising Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Hamas subsequently indicated that it was prepared to accept a two-state solution based on Israel’s borders as they were before 1967, but it rejects Israel’s right to exist and opposes peace agreements. Oslo negotiated by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1990s.
Where is Hamas headquarters?
Hamas operates primarily in Gaza City, but it also has operations in the West Bank, alongside a presence abroad.
In the comfort of Doha, Qatar, a safe distance from the current war, sits one of Hamas’ offices.
Just yesterday, a video of Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, was seen in an air-conditioned room in a high-end hotel in Doha, accompanied by 12 other people.
He then met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in this city.
Hamas also had an office in Damascus, Syria, before closing it in 2012.
Last year, it announced that it would reopen its offices in Damascus.
Who finances Hamas?
Iran is considered a major financial supporter of Hamas.
In 2019, the U.S. Treasury said the fighters’ military wing, known as the Al-Qassam Brigades, had received more than $200 million from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps over the previous four years.
He also allegedly supplied weapons to the group.
But Tehran is not the only channel.
The Al-Qassam Brigades reportedly received donations of cryptocurrencies, particularly after the 2021 conflict.
Hamas-connected wallets received approximately $41 million over a similar period, according to a study by Tel Aviv-based crypto analytics and software company BitOK.
Israeli banks are often used for transactions.
In October this year, Israeli police said they had frozen a Barclays bank account that authorities said was linked to Hamas fundraising and blocked cryptocurrency accounts used to collect donations, without specifying the number of accounts nor the value of assets.
Some countries have also provided relief and other funding for civilian purposes.
Qatar has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to finance reconstruction and government spending after Israeli bombing.