Latest Crown Center brief explores Hamas’ success in Gaza

Yezid Sayigh

The Islamist militant group Hamas has established a stable and effective governing system in Gaza despite severe restrictions imposed on the territory by Israel and challenges from Fatah and Salafist groups, professor Yezid Sayigh writes in “Hamas Rule in Gaza: Three Years On,” the latest Middle East Brief published by the Crown Center for Middle East Studies.

Sayigh, a senior fellow at the center and professor of Middle East Studies at King’s College London, explores both the policies and the fortuitous circumstances that have enabled Hamas to consolidate its control over Gaza and to maintain its domestic legitimacy since it took over the territory three years ago.

The brief analyzes the complex relationship between Hamas as an armed resistance movement and the government it supports, headed by Prime Minister Ismail Hanieh. Bringing to light the tension between the practical exigencies of governance and its core constituency’s Islamist and militant ideologies, Sayigh argues that Hamas has demonstrated the ability to innovate and survive.

He concludes that the international sanctions policy has created a durable standoff: rather than spark mass discontent leading to collapse of the Hanieh government, it enables Hamas to enhance its ruling party status.

Sayigh previously was assistant director of studies at the Centre of International Studies, Cambridge University (1994-2003), and headed the Middle East program of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London (1998-2003). In 1990-1994 he was an advisor to and negotiator for the Palestinian delegation to peace talks with Israel, and since 1999 has provided policy and technical consultancy on the permanent status peace talks and on Palestinian reform.

Click here to read “Hamas Rule in Gaza: Three Years On.”

A full list of briefs from the Crown Center is available here.

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