A preview of the PDF is not available
The Pragmatic Dimension of the Palestinian Hamas: A Network Perspective
New York and President Bush's "war on terrorism," it is important to try to understand the cultural, political, and social dimensions of such radical Islamic groups as the Palestinian Hamas. Within political and academic circles in the Western world, it is common to portray Islamic movements in categorical terms that utilize binary classifications that mark real or imaginary social attributes rather than relational patterns. 1 Much of this perception derives from the violence accompanying Islamic reli-gious fervor and the fanaticism marking some of its groups and regimes, raising fears of "a clash of civilizations" and "a threat" to Western liberal democratic values and social order. 2 Hamas, an abbreviation of Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya (Is-lamic Resistance Movement), did not escape the binary perception, and has been described solely as a movement identified with Islamic funda-mentalism and suicide bombings. The objectives at the top of its agenda are the liberation of Palestine through a holy war (jihad) against Israel, establishing an Islamic state on its soil, and reforming society in the spirit of true Islam. It is this Islamic vision, combined with its nationalist claims and militancy toward Israel, that accounts for the prevailing image of Hamas as a rigid movement, ready to pursue its goals at any cost, with no limits or constraints. Islamic and national zeal, bitter opposition to the SHAUL MISHAL teaches at the Department of Political Science at Tel Aviv University, where his research focuses on Arab and Palestinian politics. He has published several books on topics related to radical Islam, Palestinian and Arab politics and societies, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. He also founded and directed the Center for Israeli Arab Studies, which focuses on the Arab society and culture in Israel.