Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad


Primary purpose and goal of the organization

As the central focus of the larger program of Islamization, Hamas seeks to establish a Palestinian Islamist state comprising Gaza, Judea, Samaria, and the area of Israel—”from the river to the sea”, destroying Israel as a political entity. In addition, its 1988 Charter (Art. 7) calls for the death of Jews.

This document, which attempts to project a moderated image, nevertheless did not replace or supersede the 1988 Charter.  Hamas’s goals remained unchanged.  In one example, with respect to Israel, Paragraph 18 states: “The following are considered null and void: the Balfour Declaration, the British Mandate Document, the UN Palestine Partition Resolution, and whatever resolutions and measures that derive from them or are similar to them. The establishment of “Israel” is entirely illegal and contravenes the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and goes against their will and the will of the Ummah; it is also in violation of human rights that are guaranteed by international conventions, foremost among them is the right to self-determination.”

Background and description of the organization

Formal designations of Hamas as a terrorist organization

    • Canada – First listed on 27 Nov 2002.
    • Egypt – Banned Hamas on 4 Mar 2014. Egypt’s Urgent Matters Court designated Hamas’s armed wing a terrorist organization in January 2015, and Hamas as a terrorist group in February 2015. An appeals court canceled the designation in June 2015.
    • European Union –  First listed on 27 Dec 2001 in Common Position 2001/931.  Continuing designation upheld by European Court of Justice (6 Mar 2019).
    • Israel – Listed Hamas as a terrorist organization on 15 Sep 1989. It designated the Gaza-based, Hamas-controlled Al-Aqsa TV station as a terrorist entity on 6 Mar 2019.
    • Japan.
    • Jordan – Banned in 1999.
    • Organization of American States – 17 May 2021.
    • United States – Hamas was designated by the Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997 and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224 in 2001. It was also listed as a Specially Designated Terrorist in 1995 in the Annex to Executive Order 12947, which targets terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process.

Some countries have designated only the military wing of Hamas.

      • Australian National Security – Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades was first listed on 9 Nov 2003.
      • New Zealand – Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades was first listed on 11 Oct 2010.
      • Paraguay – On 9 Aug 2019, President Abdo Benitez signed Decree No. 2307/2019, designating Hizballah, Hamas, al-Qa’ida, and ISIS as an armed terrorist organizations. 
      • United Kingdom – Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades – Proscribed March 2001

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

Primary purpose and goal of the organization

PIJ is a Sunni Islamist organization committed, like Hamas, to the violent destruction of the State of Israel.  

Coordination with Hamas  

Background and Description of the organization

Formal designations of the PIJ as a terrorist organization

Additional Resources