Bringing Back the Palestinian State: Hamas between Government and Resistance

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Most of the literature on Hamas that focuses on its role as both a government and a resistance movement has emphasized how the organization either is conditioned historically to being a sociopolitical and military entity or is treading a path of de-radicalization. Emphasizing the limitations of such analyses, this article proposes a recalibration of the manner in which we study Palestinian politics in general and the Islamic Resistance in particular. To this effect, and drawing on reflections from fieldwork experiences in the Gaza Strip, it claims that Hamas today isn't necessarily engaging in a praxis of political behavior of its own creation but rather is living a Palestinian vernacular condition mandated by the Oslo Accords. That said, and within this condition, political behavior not only is informed by the state as an aspiration but also by the state as a model and inspiration, as it marks and informs the conduct of political factions. Then, by proposing the existence of a Palestinian state in oscillation between being an aspiration and an inspiration, it is hoped that it would allow for new parameters and a vocabulary for understanding Palestinian politics as more than a ‘problem’ waiting to be solved. Rather, Palestinian politics emerge as a site for reconsidering the manner in which the politics of liberation movements can be understood.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMiddle East Critique
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)211-225
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatah
  • Gaza Strip
  • Government
  • Hamas
  • Oslo accords
  • Palestinian Authority
  • resistance
  • state

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