The Hamas Charter (or Covenant), issued in 1988, outlined the position of the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas on many key issues at the time. 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. The charter also states that Hamas is humanistic, and tolerant of other religions as long as they do not block Hamas's efforts. 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 their charter since they 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 their objectives through terror and violence; Sir Jeremy Greenstock however argued that they have not adopted their charter since they won the Palestinian legislative election, 2006 as part of their political program. Instead they have 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 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. The covenant was edited and approved by Ahmad Yassin. 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
British diplomat and former British ambassador to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock stated in early 2009 that the Hamas charter was "drawn up by a Hamas-linked imam some [twenty] years ago and has never been adopted since Hamas was elected as the Palestinian government in 2006 as part of their political program". Mohammed Nimer of American University comments on the Charter, “It’s a tract meant to mobilize support and it should be amended... It projects anger, not vision.” Pastor states that those who quote the charter rather than more recent Hamas statements may be using the Charter as an excuse to ignore Hamas.
Dr. Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh (the senior political leader of Hamas) has questioned the use of the charter by Israel and its supporters to brand Hamas as a fundamentalist, terrorist, racist, anti-Semitic organization and claims that they have taken parts of the charter out of context for propaganda purposes. He claims that they dwell on the charter and ignore that Hamas has changed its views with time.He further states that "the Israelis have, for example, translated the charter to several languages, English and French included, intentionally perverting the substance of its tenets to suit their purposes. Those aims were to market its fraudulent translation to as many Western politicians, academics and media channels as possible; and therefore make it easier to claim security concerns as the basis for their legal infractions. The fear-mongering is designed to horrify the West so much that it turns a blind eye to Israels crimes against humanity which contravene international law".
In a further move away from their charter Hamas have stated according to Agence France-Presse and Al Jazeera "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 the Movement's program as "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"
- 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 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 32 Hamas condemns as co-plotters the “imperialistic powers”. References The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
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. "The Day of Judgement will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, ‘O Muslims, O Abdullah, 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 antisemitic 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.
- Fatah-Hamas conflict
- Human rights in the Palestinian National Authority
- Islamic fundamentalism
- List of political parties in the Palestinian National Authority
- Palestinian political violence
- PLO and Hamas
- Contemporary imprints of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
- "The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)". MidEast Web. August 18, 1988.
- "Covenant of Hamas". Retrieved February 24, 2009.
- The Palestinian Hamas By Shaul Mishal, Avraham Sela. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
- Article 31 of the Hamas Charter (1988) Yale Law School: The Avalon Project
- "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.
- Mazin Qumsiyeh on the History and Practice Of Nonviolent Palestinian Resistance Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May–June 2010, pp. 40-42
- A “New Hamas” through Its New Documents Journal of Palestine Studies (2006)Retrieved 31st May 2011
- "BBC Today Programme interview with Sir Jeremy Greenstock, January 12, 2009". BBC News. January 12, 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- Haniyeh: Hamas willing to accept Palestinian state with 1967 borders Haaretz (09-11-08)Retrieved 27th May 2011
- 1987:First Intifada May 6, 2008BBC
- The PLO Charters of 1964 and 1968 and the Hamas Charter of 1988 By Philipp Holtmann
- The Palestinian Hamas: vision, violence, and coexistence Shaul Mishal, Avraham Sela]
- Hamas Charter: Vision, Fact and Fiction Palestine Chronicle (23/1/2011)Retrieved 27th may 2011
- Prospects for Peace Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2009, pp. 53-54
- Hamas should hold a vote on recognizing Israel CBS Business Retrieved 31st may 2011
- Israel's Likud, Hamas square off over future relations(March 12, 2006)Retrieved 31st May 2011
- Hamas Covenant 1988, Avalon.
- HAMAS Between Violence and Pragmatism By Marc A. Walther
- pg 4 American Jewish Congress Yehudit Barsky HAMAS- The Islamic Resistance Movement of Palestine
- Hamas Covenant 1988 Retrieved 27th May 2011
- Reform Judaism Online The 'Protocols' of Hamas Steven Leonard Jacobs - Winter 2007
- Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Analysis of the Hamas Charter January 8, 2006
- http://www.adl.org/PresRele/IslME_62/4877_62.htm Anti-Semitism at Core of Hamas Charter ]ADL Retrieved 27th May 2011
- The Anti-Semitism of Hamas by Meir Litvak in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism pg 87
- Hamas Covenant 1988 Avalon project Retrieved 27th May 2011
- Hamas Charter (1988) Retrieved 27th May 2011