Hamas marks 20th anniversary


Hamas celebrated 20 years since its founding.

As many as 300,000 Palestinians rallied in Gaza City on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of Hamas’ founding, in a show of support for the Islamist movement’s refusal to soften its stand against Israel.

Hamas began during the first Palestinian uprising as a grassroots charity with an armed wing whose members mostly dedicated themselves to killing those suspected of “collaborating” with the Jewish state.

After earning international notoriety for suicide bombings launched in the 1990s, Hamas built up its political influence until it crushed the long dominant Palestinian faction, Fatah, in 2006 elections. It now controls the Gaza Strip after ousting Fatah in a June civil war and shows little sign of yielding to a Western aid boycott.

Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister in the previous Palestinian Authority government, told Saturday’s demonstration that anyone who expects the faction to give up on its dream of destroying Israel “can go to hell.”



Recommended from JTA