Skip to main content

Who Will Challenge Hamas?

Rana Baker writes that while Hamas may seem to be riding a wave of support, it is facing challenges from both other Islamic armed resistance groups and a non-partisan youth movement dissatisfied with all of the established parties.
Hamas policewomen take part in a graduation ceremony for members of Hamas security forces in Gaza City December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

I was fifteen years old when Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. But I clearly remember the euphoria that swept the residents of the Gaza Strip who were fed up with the Palestinian Authority's corrupt governance. Although Israel claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East, the people of Gaza continue to be collectively punished for participating in a transparent democratic process.

For many, however, these elections marked both the end of Hamas as an uncompromising resistance movement and its first steps into a power-hungry compromising authority. This notion was reinforced each time the Hamas police cracked down on protestors or attempted to lull other resistance movements who sought to retaliate Israel's relentless violations of Palestinian human rights.

In light of Israel's so-called "Operation Pillar of Cloud," many political analysts, especially in Israel and the West, began to use the term "mini-Hamases" to refer to even more militant opposition, with more affinity to Iran than the present institutional leadership of Hamas.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.