A Newer Hamas? The Revised Charter
On 1 May 2017, Hamas released its “Document of General Principles and Policies” following years of periodic speculation that the movement was working on a new political platform. Heralded by some as a significant milestone in Hamas’s political thought and practice, the document reiterates longstanding positions but also lays out some new ones. Given the timing of its release, as well as its contents and possible implications, the document could be considered Hamas’s new charter: it details the organization’s views on the struggle against “the Zionist project” and Israel and outlines its strategies to counter that project. This essay aims to provide a fine-grained analysis of the substance, context, and ramifications of the recently released document. The discussion starts with an overview highlighting aspects of the document that could be considered departures from Hamas’s original 1988 charter, and pointing to changes in the movement’s discourse, both in form and substance. A contextual analysis then probes the regional, international, and internal impetuses behind the issuance of the document. Finally, the discussion concludes with a look at the possible implications for the movement itself, as well as for the Palestinians and for Israel.