EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Hamas has failed because it is caught between two irreconcilable principles: establishing a modern, functioning state that provides for its citizens while at the same time maintaining a perpetual state of war against the Jewish State. Neither the PLO’s nationalist ideology nor Hamas’s religious nationalism have served the interests of the Palestinian people. Only emirates based on local clans can operate legitimately in the Palestinian-controlled territories.
When the “Islamic Resistance Movement” – or Hamas, as it is better known by its Arabic acronym – took over Gaza in 2007, pundits theorized that once the group became responsible for drinking water, gasoline, electricity, employment, and food, it would have no choice but to become more moderate. These commentators predicted Hamas would soon prefer governing to jihad, exchange terror for state-running, develop political tools instead of tools of war, and adopt a political stance instead of one of armed conflict. They could not have been more wrong, because no Islamic terror organization abandons terror without being seen as abandoning Islam as well.
In fact, what has happened is a self-immolating process that can only occur in Islamic societies. This process is a function of the collective belief shared by Islamic leaders that it is a religious obligation to stick to their political principles – and that any deviation from total allegiance to those principles will result in their falling victim to criticism from others whose religious image is more vivid and faith-based.