WINNER OF PALESTINE BOOK AWARDS 2017
Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the EU, the USA and the UN. It has made itself notorious for its violent radicalism and uncompromising rejection of the Jewish state. After its infamous victory in the 2006 elections the world was watching to see how Hamas would govern. Could an Islamist group without any experience of power – and with an unwavering ideology – manage to deal with day-to-day realities on the ground?
Bjorn Brenner investigates here what happened after the elections and puts the spotlight on the people over whom Hamas rules, rather than on its ideas. Lodging with Palestinian families and experiencing their daily encounters with Hamas, he offers an intimate perspective of the group as seen through local eyes. The book is based on hard-to-secure interviews with a wide range of key political and security figures in the Hamas administration, as well as with military commanders and members of the feared Qassam Brigades. Brenner also sought out those that Hamas identifies as local trouble makers: the extreme Salafi-Jihadis and members of the now more quiescent mainstream Fatah party led by Mahmoud Abbas.
Updated for a new paperback edition, the book now covers events since 2016 and reflects on what the future holds for Hamas. The book includes a foreword by Shaul Mishal and an epilogue by Benedetta Berti, and discusses Hamas’s newly published and more moderate Charter, the impact of the US peace plan, and suggests how we can understand the relationship between Hamas and democracy today since no new elections have taken place.