How does a group that operates terror cells and espouses violence become a ruling political party? How is the world to understand and respond to Hamas, the militant Islamist organization that Palestinian voters brought to power in the stunning election of January 2006?
This important book provides the most fully researched assessment of Hamas ever written. Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism expert with extensive field experience in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, draws aside the veil of legitimacy behind which Hamas hides. He presents concrete, detailed evidence from an extensive array of international intelligence materials, including recently declassified CIA, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security reports.
Levitt demolishes the notion that Hamas’ military, political, and social wings are distinct from one another and catalogues the alarming extent to which the organization’s political and social welfare leaders support terror. He exposes Hamas as a unitary organization committed to a militant Islamist ideology, urges the international community to take heed, and offers well-considered ideas for countering the significant threat Hamas poses.
Levitt, formerly a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and now a deputy assistant secretary in the Treasury Department, has completed a timely assessment of one of the world's most prolific terrorist organizations. As Hamas wields increasing power within the Palestinian Authority, Levitt offers a sobering analysis of the group's likely priorities and of the quickly dimming prospects for peace in this most intractable of conflicts. Probably the most comprehensive study of the tactics, finances and structures of the Islamic resistance movement ever published, many of the details will primarily interest the specialist. In nine heavily annotated chapters, Levitt explores Hamas's infrastructure, laying out detailed blueprints for indoctrination, money laundering, public outreach and militant activities, charting the anatomy of a typical attack down to the cost of each bullet. Levitt's well-documented assertion that there is essentially no separation between Hamas's military wing and its myriad charitable activities leaves him less sanguine than many commentators in the wake of the recent legislative elections. Levitt is likely to gain some enemies with evidence that, for instance, the Council on American-Islamic Relations is implicated in fund-raising for Hamas, but all his information is impeccably researched and compellingly presented.