Hamas in Politics: Democracy, Religion, Violence

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A key player in the politics of the Middle East, Hamas is renowned for its contradictory positions. The group uses terror tactics against Israel's civilians and military, yet runs on a law and order ticket in Palestinian elections; it pursues an Islamic state, yet holds internal elections; it campaigns for shari'ah law, yet its leaders are predominantly secular professionals; and it calls for the destruction of Israel, yet has reluctantly agreed to honor previously established peace agreements.

In Hamas in Politics, Jeroen Gunning launches a probing study of the movement's success in the political arena, showing that religion, violence, and democracy are not necessarily incompatible. Many of Hamas's apparent contradictions flow from the relationship between the organization's ideology, local constituency, and the nature of politics in Israel and Palestine. Gunning conducts interviews with members of Hamas as well as the group's critics and draws on a decade of close observation of the organization. He illuminates Hamas's understanding of its ideology and explores the tension between its dual commitment to "God" and "the people." Examining the group's political practice and what it says about the group's attitude towards democracy, religion, and violence, Gunning provides a unique window into Hamas's internal structure, revealing its process of choosing leaders and determining policy.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement - David Gallagher

This thoughtful and necessary book deserves a wide readership.

Journal of Palestine Studies - Ghada Al-Madbouh

Scholars and Students... are encouraged to read this book.

Jan Selby

An ambitious and impressive piece of work. The interviews and Jeroen Gunning's interpretations will make a valuable contribution to scholarship on Islamist movements, terrorism, and Hamas.

Times Literary Supplement
This thoughtful and necessary book deserves a wide readership.

— David Gallagher

New York Review of Books

an exemplary political primer on the Islamist party's evolution, structure, and thought.

Journal of Palestine Studies
Scholars and Students... are encouraged to read this book.

— Ghada Al-Madbouh

From the Publisher

"An exemplary political primer on the Islamist party's evolution, structure and thought."--New York Review of Books

"This thoughtful book deserves a wide readership."--Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231700450
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 1/13/2010
  • Series: Columbia/Hurst Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeroen Gunning studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies and at Durgaham University and the University of Oxford, and is now lecturer in the Department of International Politics, the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

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Table of Contents

Contents:1. On Studying Hamas 2. Origins, Evolution, and Changing Political Opportunity Structure 3. Towards an Islamic State 4. Authority within Hamas 5. Hamas and Electoral Politics 6. Hamas and the Peace Process 7. Hamas and Democratization

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