‘To Fight is to Exist’: Hamas, Armed Resistance and the Making of Palestine

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It is not a particularly novel academic endeavour to explore Hamas’ armed resistance. Nevertheless, this essay contributes to the conversation by deliberating on the organization's military faction through the stories my informants told of their experiences and memories of resistance. With these stories in mind, I argue Hamas’ resistance is revered among Palestinians because of its ability to unmake and make for the Palestinian struggle. Hamas’ armed struggle, while incapable of defeating Israel, minimally unmakes by rendering its victims fearful and by challenging the viability of maintaining the occupation. In doing so it exacts far greater human and material costs from Palestinians than it does from Israelis. Nonetheless, I argue resistance makes by allowing each act of resistance to be named as a Palestinian act of resistance and its tragic repercussions as an occasion of Palestinian suffering. In this way, while an occupation is perceived by Palestinians as an effort to efface their legacy of existence from their historic homeland, violence permits the colonized to arrest this process of unnaming by ensuring that Palestine and its inhabitants’ Palestinianness are recognizable both to their adherents and their adversaries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInterventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)201-217
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Armed resistance
  • Hamas
  • Israel
  • Palestine
  • Violence

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