The Charter identified Hamas as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine and declares its members to be Muslims who "fear God and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors." The charter states that "our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious" and calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel. It emphasizes the importance of jihad stating in article 13, "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors." The charter also states that Hamas is humanistic, and tolerant of other religions as long as they "stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region". The Charter adds that "renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion" of Islam.
In 2010 Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal stated that the Charter is "a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons." Hamas have moved away from its charter since it decided to go for political office. In 2009 interviews with the BBC, Tony Blair claimed that Hamas does not accept the existence of Israel and continues to pursue its objectives through terror and violence; Sir Jeremy Greenstock however argued that Hamas has not adopted its charter as part of its political program since it won the Palestinian legislative election, 2006. Instead it has moved to a more secular stance. In 2008, the Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, stated that Hamas would agree to accept a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, and to offer a long-term truce with Israel. In contrast to this, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar stated that any talk of the 1967 lines is "just a phase" until Hamas has a chance to "regain the land...even if we [Hamas] have to do so inch by inch." Other Hamas leaders, including Ismail Haniyah and Khaled Meshaal have also stated repeatedly that "Palestine – from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, from its north to its south – is our land, our right, and our homeland. There will be no relinquishing or forsaking even an inch or small part of it," and that "we shall not relinquish the Islamic waqf on the land of Palestine, and Jerusalem shall not be divided into Western and Eastern Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a single united [city], and Palestine stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, and from Naqoura [Rosh Ha-Niqra] to Umm Al-Rashrash [Eilat] in the south."
In 1987, 20 years after the 1967 war, the First Intifada (1987–1993) had begun. In the late 1980s, the PLO sought a negotiated solution with Israel in the form of a two-state solution. This was not acceptable to Hamas, the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the covenant was written to bridge the ideological gap between the PLO and Muslim Brotherhood. According to Hamas's Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Ahmed Yousef, the Charter "was ratified during the unique circumstances of the Uprising in 1988 as a necessary framework for dealing with a relentless occupation".
While the PLO was nationalistic, it was more secular in nature, while Hamas subscribed to a neo-Salafi jihadi theology and nationalism. Hamas was a shift from the Muslim Brotherhood's more universal Islamic vision to a focus on Palestinian nationalism and a strategy of armed struggle, or violent jihad. Its political goals were identical to those of the PLO's charter and was essentially an armed struggle to retrieve the entire land of Palestine as an Islamic waqf.
Relevance of the Charter in the 21st century
Dr. Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh (the senior political leader of Hamas) claimed that Hamas has changed its views with time since the charter was issued in 1988. In 2010 Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal stated that the Charter is "a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons."
In 2006, Hamas proposed government programme, which stated that "the question of recognizing Israel is not the jurisdiction of one faction, nor the government, but a decision for the Palestinian people." However many remain sceptical of Hamas's new stance, and view it as a ploy to hide its true agenda, "but it is equally true that the “new” discourse of diluted religious content—to say nothing of the movement’s increasing pragmatism and flexibility in the political domain—reflects genuine and cumulative changes within Hamas."
- Article 1 describes Hamas as an Islamic Resistance Movement with an ideological programme of Islam.
- Article 2 of Hamas' Charter defines Hamas as a "universal movement" and "one of the branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine".
- Article 3 the Movement consists of "Muslims who have given their allegiance to Allah".
- Article 5 Demonstrates its Salafist roots and connections to the Muslim brotherhood. 
- Article 6 Hamas is uniquely Palestinian, and "strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned."
- Article 7 describes Hamas as "one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders" and links the movement to the followers of the religious and nationalist hero Izz ad-Din al-Qassam.
- Article 8 The Hamas document reiterates the Muslim Brotherhood's slogan of "Allah is its goal, the Prophet is the model, the Qur'an its constitution, jihad its path, and death for the sake of Allah its most sublime belief."
- Article 9 adapts Muslim Brotherhood's vision to connect the Palestinian crisis with the Islamic solution and advocates "fighting against the false, defeating it and vanquishing it so that justice could prevail".
- Article 11 Palestine is sacred (waqf) for all Muslims for all time, and it cannot be relinquished by anyone.
- Article 12 affirms that "Nationalism, from the point of view of the Islamic Resistance Movement, is part of the religious creed" .
- Article 13 There is no negotiated settlement possible. Jihad is the only answer.
- Article 14 The liberation of Palestine is the personal duty of every Palestinian.
- Article 15 "The day that enemies usurp part of Muslim land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Muslim". It states the history of crusades into Muslim lands and says the "Palestinian problem is a religious problem".
- Article 16 Describes how to go about educating future generations.
- Article 20 Calls for action "by the people as a single body" against "a vicious enemy which acts in a way similar to Nazism, making no differentiation between man and woman, between children and old people".
- Article 22 Makes sweeping claims about Jewish influence and power. 
- Article 28 Conspiracy indictment against "Israel, Judaism and Jews".
- Article 31 Describes Hamas as "a humanistic movement", which "takes care of human rights and is guided by Islamic tolerance when dealing with the followers of other religions". "Under the wing of Islam", it is possible for Islam, Christianity and Judaism "to coexist in peace and quiet with each other" provided that members of other religions do not dispute the sovereignty of Islam in the region.
- Article 32 Hamas condemns as co-plotters the “imperialistic powers”. References The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Statements about Israel
The Preamble to the Charter states: ″Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam invalidates it, just as it invalidated others before it″.
According to Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, "The Hamas credo is not just anti-Israel, but profoundly anti-Semitic with racism at its core. The Hamas Charter reads like a modern-day 'Mein Kampf.'" According to the charter, Jewish people "have only negative traits and are presented as planning to take over the world." The charter claims that the Jews deserve God’s/Allah’s enmity and wrath because they received the Scriptures but violated its sacred texts, disbelieved the signs of Allah, and slew their own prophets. It quotes a saying of Muhammad from a hadith: "The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslim, O servant of God, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.' Only the Gharkad tree would not do that, because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
The charter contains references to anti-Semitic canards, such as the assertion that through shrewd manipulation of imperial countries and secret societies, Jews were behind a wide range of events and disasters going as far back in history as the French Revolution. The document also quotes Islamic religious texts to provide justification for fighting against and killing the Jews, without distinction of whether they are in Israel or elsewhere. It presents the Arab-Israeli conflict as an inherently irreconcilable struggle between Jews and Muslims, and Judaism and Islam, adding that the only way to engage in this struggle between "truth and falsehood" is through Islam and by means of jihad, until victory or martyrdom.
Comparison between the Hamas and the Likud positions plus their evolutions
Both Hamas and the Israeli Likud party have demonstrated evolutions in their stated political agendas. In the 1988 Hamas charter or covenant there are calls for the abolishing/ obliteration/ elimination of Israel. The original Likud platform of 1977 states “Judea and Samaria will not be handed to any foreign administration; between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty”. Both sides thereby denied the right of the opponent state to exist.
Hamas has moved in position since the Covenant was first published in 1988 when the first intifada was in full swing. Hamas dropped its call for the destruction of Israel from its manifesto for the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election. Following Hamas’ victory, Ismail Haniyeh, the newly elected prime minister, sent a dispatch to U.S. President George W. Bush, asking to be recognized and offering a long-term truce with Israel and the establishment of a border on the lines of 1967. “The differences between the party’s platform and the Islamic Charter [of Hamas]”, in Menachem Klein’s words, “do not represent an attempt at deception or the empty and unconsidered use of words. They are a product of a change and modification of lines of thought as a part of the process by which Hamas has become a political movement.” Hamas’ pragmatic evolution could be seen also in the phase following the implementation of the Egypt-brokered cease-fire of 2012, that was supposed to end or significantly ease the closure of Gaza and to guarantee Israel’s security needs. During the three months after the agreement, only one attack (two mortar shells) occurred.
The Likud position also shifted with time. The 2006 platform of World Likud, an extension of the Likud Political Party, presented a plan which included “Talks on the establishment of a Palestinian State will cease effective immediately” but eased away from the entire area west of the Jordan with “Israel will annex a designated part of Judea and Samaria.” In 2009 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of Likud, gave a speech at Bar-Ilan University in which he opened the door to the existence of a Palestinian state, with the proviso that it be demilitarized. In 2012 senior Likud officials called for the omission of this reference to the establishment of a Palestinian state from the party's platform. Later in 2012 Haaretz reported “The Likud platform to date did not recognize the existence of a Palestinian state.” A September 2014 poll revealed that “a majority of voters who supported Likud Beytenu believe that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should launch a diplomatic initiative that would eventually yield a Palestinian state alongside Israel.”
- Contemporary imprints of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
- Fatah–Hamas conflict
- Human rights in the Palestinian territories
- Islamic fundamentalism
- List of political parties in the State of Palestine
- Palestinian political violence
- "Hamas Covenant 1988: The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement". The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Yale Law School. August 18, 1988. Retrieved February 15, 2009.
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[part of Article 13 of the Covenant] There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.
- Article 31 of the Hamas Charter (1988) Yale Law School: The Avalon Project
- Mazin Qumsiyeh on the History and Practice Of Nonviolent Palestinian Resistance Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May–June 2010, pp. 40-42
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- 1987:First Intifada May 6, 2008BBC
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