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The Pronk Pops Show 1259, May 16, 2019, Story 1: President Trump’s New Immigration Proposal — What Happened To Border Security First With A 1,000 Mile Wall? — Build Big Beautiful Border Barrier — Additional 1500 Miles! — What Happened To Deporting and Removing All The Illegal Aliens (The 30-60 Million) Living and Working in United States? — Then and Only Then Talk About Common Sense Comprehensive Immigration Reform — No Sale Mr. President! — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump’s New Immigration Proposal — What Happened To Border Security First With A 1,000 Mile Wall? — Build Big Beautiful Border Barrier — Additional 1500 Miles Required! — What Happened To Deporting and Removing All The Illegal Aliens (The 30-60 Million?) Living and Working in United States? — Then and Only Then Talk About Common Sense Comprehensive Immigration Reform — No Sale Mr. President! — Videos

President Trump unveils new immigration proposal

Sarah Sanders: There’s one agenda, one decisionmaker, that’s Trump

Trump‘s immigration plan could have a strong impact on the U.S. economy

Jared Kushner And President Donald Trump’s Immigration Proposal Comes Out DOA | Deadline | MSNBC

MAJOR TRUMP IMMIGRATION PLAN: Watch As Donald Trump Outlines His Immigration Executive Plan FNN

Trump elaborates on plan to deport illegal immigrants

How would Donald Trump deport millions of immigrants?

Your tax dollars supporting deported illegal immigrants?

Trump to unveil ‘merit-based’ immigration plan with English tests for new arrivals which White House insists IS ‘designed to become law’ despite Republican saying it is dead on arrival

  • Donald Trump will unveil his immigration overhaul Thursday afternoon, providing a road map for weary lawmakers tired of anticipating what he wants 
  • In Rose Garden remarks, Trump will announce changes to America’s ‘screwed up’ asylum laws and seek to build GOP support for a new merit-based plan   
  • GOP senator who introduced a plan Wednesday suggested White House’s plan cannot pass, because it includes a border wall and merit-based immigration
  • Lindsey Graham said at a press conference that Trump’s plan ‘isn’t designed to become law – it was meant to ‘unify’ the GOP on border security
  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted it’s more than set of goals and bullet points as she spoke to DailyMail.com on Thursday morning
  • ‘We think it certainly is designed to become law. We think it should. That’s why we put it out,’ she said on the White House driveway
  • Plan does away with the diversity visa lottery and prioritizes skilled workers 

 

Donald Trump will unveil his ideal immigration plan in a speech today, calling for new criteria and a point-based system for legal entry into the United States.

The proposal eliminates the diversity visa lottery for potential green card holders and refocuses the legal immigration system around skilled workers. It proposes English-language tests for visa holders and requires applicants to pass a U.S. citizenship test.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that the proposal the White House previewed to Congress ‘isn’t designed to become law.’ He said it was intended to ‘unify’ the GOP on border security and a merit-based admission system.

A presentation by senior officials to press before Trump’s speech came in the form of a slideshow and did not include go into detail.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Thursday that Trump’s proposal is more than a set of goals and bullet points, however.

‘We think it certainly is designed to become law. We think it should. That’s why we put it out, and that’s why we’ve spent a lot of time developing and making sure that this is something that could have buy-in from both sides and actually fix our system that hasn’t been upgraded or touched in decades,’ she told DailyMail.com.

President Trump will unveil his immigration overhaul Thursday, providing a road map for weary lawmakers who've tired of failed negotiations

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that the proposal the White House previewed to Congress 'isn't designed to become law.' He said it was intended to 'unify' the GOP on border security and a merit-based admission system

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that the proposal the White House previewed to Congress ‘isn’t designed to become law.’ He said it was intended to ‘unify’ the GOP on border security and a merit-based admission system

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Thursday that Trump's proposal is more than a set of goals as she spoke to DailyMail.com and other press

Graham unveiled an immigration plan Wednesday that zeros in on the humanitarian crisis at the border. The White House said the GOP senator’s proposal is a ‘subset’ of Trump’s and the plans are complimentary to each other.

‘These two things compliment one another,’ Sanders told Fox News.

She characterized Graham’s comprehensive immigration reform proposal as a quick fix.

‘The president’s plan, that he’s going to talk about later this afternoon, is more of a long-term thing looking at modernizing and updating our entire immigration system.’

Sanders said there’s nothing in Trump’s plan Democrats should be against. 

‘We want to move to this merit-based system. Democrats right now, unless they get on board with this, the only thing they’ve said they want is open borders. I think that is a terrible thing for our country and I think it’s a terrible message for them going into 2020 so I think it would be wonderful to watch them get on board with something that helps secure our border,’ she warned.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday at a news conference that Democrats want a plan that secures the border, has a path to citizenship, and respects the family. She said they would only support a package that has ‘certain principles’ that her party agrees to.

Graham had put the White House on blast the afternoon before, as he revealed his plan, telling reporters, ‘The White House’s plan is not designed to become law. This is designed to become law.’

He said the White House plan emphasizing a border wall and merit-based immigration cannot win bipartisan support.

‘I don’t think it’s designed to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party around border security,’ he said Tuesday after seeing the White House’s presentation.

Graham’s bill would require asylum applicants from Central American countries to apply for refugee status before they migrate to the U.S. Asylum claims from those migrants would be automatically rejected at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The senator wants to create processing centers in Mexico to review asylum claims – something Trump has also tried to establish.

Graham’s bill would also allow families to be held together for up to 100 days, revising a 20-day limit that’s currently in place. It would cut down on family separations but drive up the number of beds in use and the length of time that migrants can be detained to more than three months.

He would hire 500 new immigration judges to cut down on wait times. 

In Rose Garden remarks this afternoon, Trump will announce changes to America’s ‘screwed up’ asylum laws and seek to build GOP support for his plan, a senior administration official told White House press. on Wednesday.

Jared Kushner, a senior White House official and the president’s son-in-law, crafted the current proposal with the input of economic and border security experts such as senior policy advisor Stephen Miller.

At a briefing for press, officials stressed that it is the ‘Trump plan’ even though it was billed as ‘The Republican Proposal’ in the slideshow.

‘Right now, this is the Trump plan. We’re hoping this will become the Republican plan,’ an official clarified in response to to an inquiry from DailyMail.com on Wednesday, ‘and we’ll keep evolving.’

Whether Trump will be able to get a majority of lawmakers from its own party on board was an unknown as the White House made its second attempt at comprehensive immigration reform following a skirmish with the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives earlier in the year.

White House officials were hopeful and were working hard to fill in the proposal’s details.

Trump met with Republican senators last week and sent his proxies to Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

WHAT’S IN TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION PLAN?

  •  Expedited adjudication for asylum seekers & quicker removal process
  • Wall in ‘high-priority locations’ along border with Mexico
  • Change eligibility for visas, adding a point-based system 
  • Points include: U.S civics test; health screening, background check
  • Other factors: age, English proficiency, offer of employment, educational & vocational certificates
  • Plan would increase education and skills of new legal immigrants

A report after the GOP luncheon claimed that Trump’s plan was lacking in details and Kushner had trouble handling the information. 

An official disputed the claims on Wednesday, insisting senators’ reactions had been ‘misreported’ and telling DailyMail.com, ‘People were very, very enthusiastic about it.’

White House officials have briefed half of the Senate’s 53 Republican members on the president’s plan, the Trump adviser claimed. ‘And there’s been no negative public comments from GOP senators, as well, on the record.’

The person suggested that leakers claiming otherwise were intentionally trying to derail the plan that seeks to decrease the number of immigrants who come because of family connections and increase the number of skilled workers.

A slide in the presentation said that within the current system, just 12 percent of immigrants are coming because of employment and skill, while 66 percent are relocating because of family ties. Another 22 percent are allowed in for humanitarian causes and through the diversity visa lottery.

Trump’s plan, which the slide mistakenly referred to as ‘The Republican Proposal’ even though officials said that wasn’t the case, set up new categories of 57 percent employment and skill based, and a reduction to 33 percent for family links and 10 percent for humanitarian purposes.

The administration based its plan on systems in Australia, Japan and Canada.

Jared Kushner, a senior White House official and the president's son-in-law, crafted the current proposal with the input of economic and border security experts such as senior policy advisor Stephen Miller

Jared Kushner, a senior White House official and the president’s son-in-law, crafted the current proposal with the input of economic and border security experts such as senior policy advisor Stephen Miller

Australia’s point-based system prioritizes merit-based workers at 68 percent of its total with 30 percent relocating for family reasons and 2 percent coming for other reasons.

Trump would totally do away with the diversity visa lottery in America, which he incorrectly claimed on Wednesday involves countries picking its worst citizens and sending them to America.

Non-Americans apply for visas and are selected by the State Department at random through the system. If they pass background checks administered by the United States, they are allowed to come to America.

Many illegal immigrants attempt to take advantage of America’s asylum laws, which are meant for refugees. The Trump administration wants to scale back the number of asylum seekers and unclog the asylum system.

‘Right now we have a lot of people who want to use our asylum system. Right now it’s so screwed up that those people aren’t getting the adjudication they need,’ a senior official told press. ‘So we want to make sure that people who have legitimate claims can come through quickly, and that people who are trying to take advantage of the system, use it as a back door, are ejected and removed in an expedited fashion but also given due process.’

Trump has pushed for a system that allows him to reject most Central American migrants’ asylum requests and immediately send them back to their home countries.

Last week a senior White House official told DailyMail.com that Trump envisions a ‘big door’ that immigrants with skill sets the U.S. wants will be able to walk through, ant that’s the focus of his overhaul.

In the interim, Trump has floated a plan to send illegal immigrants to San Francisco and other sanctuary cities that provide safe harbor to undocumented migrants.

The official said that under the president’s proposed new law, the president’s controversial sanctuary cities plan wouldn’t be necessary.

‘I think that if this plan gets enacted, then the amount of illegal immigrants coming into this country should plummet,’ the senior official told DailyMail.com, ‘because you’ll have the secure border and you’ll have the ability to detain, adjudicate – with due process – and then remove people who coming in illegally.’

The person added, ‘And then we’ll have a big door, which is the people who are coming in legally will be able to come in in a much simpler, expedited fashion, and that’s what we, I think, should expect, and aim for as a country.’

President Trump threatened last week to resort to ‘harsh measures’ to address problems in the immigration system, if Democrats continue to stand in the way of his overhaul.

The Republican president tweeted before a meeting with GOP senators to say, ‘Democrats in Congress must vote to close the terrible loopholes at the Southern Border. If not, harsh measures will have to be taken!’

He did not elaborate on the threat and details of the immigration proposal his White House is preparing with the help of lawmakers remained murky, even after officials held a background briefing for the press.

An outline of Trump’s comprehensive plan laid of six areas of concern: securing the border, protecting American wages and recruiting the best and brightest migrants, family reunification and the preservation of humanitarian values, in that order.

A senior official who spoke to a group of reporters last Tuesday said Trump will reveal a more detailed plan when he’s ready, and the meeting with senators was merely a first step in putting together a coalition.

‘I think he was very happy with the meeting today. I think we got a very positive reaction from people whose opinions he wanted to seek, and I think that was a good step forward to validate a lot of his instincts on what he wanted to produce and the work that he has subsequently done,’ the official stated.

A week later, the White House claimed it was ready to present the broad strokes of a proposal as it continued to work with legislators, however.

Officials said they were focused on winning the support of seven GOP senators, although they refused to say which lawmakers they were.

One who briefed press a week prior told DailyMail.com that what had changed in over the last eight days was that, ‘We got ready.’

‘We’re fairly fluid in terms of how we do these things, but what we’ll do is: when we’re ready,’ the senior Trump aide said.

The official explained that president approved the draft proposal and immediately brought in a focus group of 12 senators to solicit their input.

While it could have went poorly, the person said, ‘Turned out it went very, very well.

‘Feedback in the room was great, and these are all people who are not bashful about telling you both privately and publicly about when they’re not happy with what you put forward,’ the White House official assessed.

Stephen Miller, a senior adviser, to the president, is seen on Tuesday on Capitol Hill

Stephen Miller, a senior adviser, to the president, is seen on Tuesday on Capitol Hill

The White House promoted the meeting with senators as a ‘sounding board’ for options and claimed that a timeline for introducing the plan had not been set.

‘We had a good opportunity to share with them the outline that we’ve been working on, and then get some of their feedback, so it was a very constructive meeting. We’ll work on further refining it based on some of the things we heard today,’ the Trump aide who requested anonymity to brief the press said.

Trump is trying to avoid the mistakes Republicans made the first time they attempted to secure enough votes for an immigration overhaul after he assumed office, the White House official intimated.

‘People are always too quick to try and rush in to make deals,’ the person explained. ‘Once we have finalized what we believe is the right position, we’ll try to unify as many of the Republicans around that as possible, and then we’ll see.’

The person suggested that Democrats could come on board without much wrangling if the White House goes about rolling out its plan correctly.

‘Maybe the Democrats will like it. a lot of them say they’re for border security, a lot of Democrats say they’re for a merit-based system and so I think that we’re taking the first step of putting together these ideas in a very detailed format, and hopefully, that starts a very positive discussion,’ the Trump aide said.

Asked Wednesday whether the president seriously believes he can get a plan passed with Democratic senators vying for his job in hot pursuit, the official said the immediate goal is to get GOP senators on board.

‘It’s very easy to be pessimistic, right? We recognize how hard it is. But again the president’s mandate to us is come up with something that … represents my position on immigration, put it out there, let’s unify Republicans. That’s the immediate task. Once you do that, a lot of things become possible,’ the person said.

The aide said of the plan’s legislative viability, ‘I don’t know, maybe we can, maybe can’t but we’re gonna try like hell to see if we can do it.’

‘And the president’s a dealmaker, and he’s flexible and he wants to see this happen,’ the aide insisted.

Trump’s speech on Thursday is not anticipated to get into the nuts and bolts of the proposal.

‘We’re going to release some details tomorrow,’ the official said. ‘We’re going to release more details later on.’

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, suggested to DailyMail.com and other reporters Tuesday morning that the new plan would be similar to one Trump sent to Congress his first year in office

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, suggested to DailyMail.com and other reporters Tuesday morning that the new plan would be similar to one Trump sent to Congress his first year in office

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, suggested to DailyMail.com and other reporters last Tuesday morning that the president’s new plan would be similar to one Trump sent to Congress his first year in office.

‘This president submitted to Congress, in October of 2017, a 70-point immigration plan, that has never been acted on,’ she asserted.

Conway said Trump prioritizes securing the border, ending chain migration and the diversity visa lottery and moving to a merit-based immigration system.

‘This president has shown in the past a serious willingness to solve our Dreamers and DACA challenges, as well,’ she said. ‘So Jared Kushner and others have been talking about for awhile a big immigration plan, and we’re happy that the senators are coming over to be briefed on that.’

She declined to say, in response to a question from DailyMail.com, what is different about the new plan that Trump will be selling to senators.

The senior White House official suggested that the political climate could make immigration reform easier the second crack of the bat.

‘That the Democrats actually come to the table and their serious about it, because this will be our second attempt. Where’s their plan? What is their idea?’ she said.

Specific details of the White House plan are still under wraps, too.  Trump has only said that it will prioritize merit-based workers.

‘They have skills, they have talent. We have people coming in under these crazy laws that – I mean under these crazy laws that – I mean if they – if they need welfare or if they need hand outs in the next 50 years, they – they’re almost incentivized,’ he said in a recent interview. ‘Those are the people that we’re supposed to be taking and we take as few as possible of them, I’ll tell you.’

He said Wednesday at a Capitol Hill service for slain police officers that he would keep out illegal immigrant killers like the one who killed a California cop he was honoring.

‘Not one more American life should be lost because our lawmakers failed to secure our borders. Tremendous problems are caused at the southern border — from drugs, to the wrong people being allowed to come in because of a corrupt and broken system that can be changed in 20 minutes — 20 minutes, if they want to change it.’

He said, ‘In the meantime, we have to do it the tough way. And there’s no reason for that. That’s why we are calling on Congress to fix our terrible immigration laws, stop catch-and-release; you catch them and you release them.

‘To end deadly sanctuary cities. To stop the visa lottery program, where they take lottery systems and a country will put you into a lottery and then deposit you into the United States. I don’t think most countries are giving us their finest. Do you agree? And that’s what’s happening. And it’s causing tremendous problems with crime and other things.

Trump claimed an illegal immigrant who killed Officer Ronil Singh ‘could have been kept out with border security, with the wall, with whatever the hell it takes’ and he would make it happen.

‘We’re getting it there. We’re building the wall. We’re beefing up like you wouldn’t believe. The military is come into action,’ he said, ‘People are trying to come into our country illegally because our country is doing well. They can’t come in illegally. They have to come in through the legal system. They have to come in through merit.’

The president insisted, ‘They can’t come in like this killer came in. Just rode across the border, went through every sign he could go through,’ he alleged.

Kushner said at a Time 100 summit last month that  border security, including a wall or a barrier, remains the president’s first priority.

‘We want to protect our country’s humanitarian values. We want to make sure we’re reunifying families, and we want to do this in a way that allows our country to be competitive long term,’ he said. ‘And my hope is we can really do something that unifies people around what we’re for on immigration.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7036913/White-House-insists-Trumps-merit-based-immigration-proposal-designed-law.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019, Story 1: United States Sends Aircraft Carrier Group and Bomber Task Force To Middle East to Counter Iranian Threats — Videos — Story 2: After Nearly 700 Rockets From Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza Strip Kills 4 Israelis and 22 Palestinians — Israeli Airstrikes Attack Hamas and Kill Commander in Gaza City — Ceasefire Reached But Most Likely Will Not Hold — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Threatens To Impose a 25% Tariff on $200 Billion of Chinese Exports into United States After Chinese Communist Renege on Trade Deal Commitments — Time To Pull The Trigger on 25% Tariff on Chinese Goods — Videos

Posted on May 7, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, China, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Egypt, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Joe Biden, Labor Economics, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, News, People, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, South America, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1251 May 6, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1245 April 26, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 201

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

Pronk Pops Show 1232 March 29, 2019 Part 1

Pronk Pops Show 1231 March 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1230 March 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1229 March 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1228 March 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1227 March 21, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1218 March 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1217 February 27, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1209 February 15, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1203 February 7, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1201 February 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1200 February 1, 2019

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Story 1: United States Sends Aircraft Carrier Group and Bomber Task Force To Middle East to Counter Iranian Threats — Videos —

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US vs Iran – Strait of Hormuz

HOW THE U.S. MILITARY WOULD STRIKE IRAN: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW || RHINO 2018

U.S. sends USS Lincoln to Mideast to warn Iran

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The Collapse of the American Empire?

Chris Hedges – American Empire In Decline

Billy Joel Goodnight Saigon Vietnam Tribute

American Pie Don McLean Full Length 1989 Video from Original 1971 72 Song

Don McLean – American Pie better quality

American Pie

A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while
But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died
So
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?
Well, I know that you’re in love with him
‘Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues
I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died
I started singin’
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
Now, for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rolling stone
But, that’s not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me
Oh and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Lennon read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died
We were singin’
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
And singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast
Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance
‘Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?
We started singin’
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
And singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend
Oh and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singin’
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play
And in the streets the children screamed
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken
And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singing
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
They were singing
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
Songwriters: Don McLean

Scoop: Israel passed White House intelligence on possible Iran plot

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu with national security adviser John Bolton. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images

Israel passed information on an alleged Iranian plot to attack U.S. interests in the Gulf to the U.S. before national security adviser John Bolton threatened Iran with “unrelenting force” last night, senior Israeli officials told me.

Why it matters: Bolton’s unusual and aggressive statement included news that the U.S. would move an aircraft carrier to the region. The officials said intelligence gathered by Israel, primarily by the Mossad intelligence agency, is understood to be part of the reason for Bolton’s announcement.

Behind the scenes: Information about possible Iranian plots against the U.S. or its allies in the Gulf were raised two weeks ago in talks held at the White House between an Israeli delegation headed by national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat and a U.S. team led by Bolton, the Israeli officials told me.

  • The intelligence about a possible Iranian plot is not very specific at this stage, but the officials said it was clear the threat was against a U.S. target in the Gulf or U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

The bottom line: An Israeli official told me Mossad drew several scenarios for what the Iranians might be planning:

“It is still unclear to us what the Iranians are trying to do and how they are planning to do it, but it is clear to us that the Iranian temperature is on the rise as a result of the growing U.S. pressure campaign against them, and they are considering retaliating against U.S. interests in the Gulf.”

— Israeli official

US sending aircraft carrier to Mideast, citing Iran threats

49 minutes ago
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks to the media on the sidelines of the Arctic Council ministers’ working dinner at the Arktikum museum in Rovaniemi, Finland, Monday, May 6, 2019. The U.S. is dispatching an aircraft carrier and other military resources to the Middle East following what it says are indications that Iran and its proxy forces are preparing to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region. (Mandel Ngan/Pool Photo via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is sending an aircraft carrier group to the Middle East ahead of schedule and warning that Iran and its proxy forces are showing “troubling and escalatory” indications of a possible attack on American forces in the region.

Exactly what prompted the action was unclear, but it marked a further step in sharply rising tensions between the Trump administration and the Islamic Republic.

National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday night the U.S. was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East, intending to send a message that “unrelenting force” will meet any attack on American forces or allies.

Neither Bolton nor other officials would provide any details about the supposed threat, which comes as the Trump administration wages a campaign of intensifying pressure against Iran and nearly a year after it withdrew from an Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran.

In Iran, the semi-official ISNA news agency on Monday quoted an anonymous official as saying that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani planned a broadcast address Wednesday and might discuss “counteractions” Tehran will take over America’s withdrawal from the international nuclear deal.

The agreement limited Iran’s enrichment of uranium amid Western concerns that Tehran’s program could allow it to build nuclear weapons. Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes.

With its pressure campaign, the U.S. administration is trying to get Iran to halt activities such as supporting militant activities that destabilize the Middle East and threaten U.S. allies, including Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

“Our objective is to get the Islamic Republic of Iran to behave like a normal nation,” Pompeo told reporters during a visit to Finland. “When they do that, we will welcome them back.”

The order to the carrier group would get the Abraham Lincoln into the Middle East about two weeks earlier than initially planned following exercises in the Mediterranean region, according to a U.S. defense official who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, so spoke on the condition of anonymity. It forces the ships to cancel a planned stop in Croatia.

For years, the U.S. maintained a carrier presence in the Persian Gulf and Middle East region. During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there were two carriers in the area, but that was reduced to one.

Last year the administration decided to end the continuous carrier presence, and send a strike group only intermittently into the region. The U.S. Navy currently has no aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

Bolton said the U.S. wants to send a message that “unrelenting force” will meet any attack on U.S. interests or those of America’s allies.

Jon Alterman, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, questioned whether the U.S. adequately understands Iranian motivations and actions, and whether the military move was warranted.

“I don’t think we should let the Iranians pull our chain at the time and place of their choosing,” he said. “You can communicate seriousness to the Iranians without moving a lot of assets around, because moving assets is expensive and keeps assets from being in other places.”

He added, however, that Iran has the capability to harm Americans, but it’s difficult to assess the situation without knowing more about the intelligence that prompted the move.

Along with the Lincoln, Bolton mentioned “a bomber task force,” which suggested the Pentagon is deploying land-based bomber aircraft somewhere in the region, perhaps on the Arabian Peninsula.

Pompeo said the actions undertaken by the U.S. have been in the works for a while. The request for the accelerated move came over the weekend from the military’s U.S. Central Command after reviewing various intelligence reports for some time, according to the U.S. official. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan approved the request on Sunday.

“It is absolutely the case that we have seen escalatory actions from the Iranians and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests,” Pompeo said. “If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that.”

Asked if the Iranian action was related to the deadly events in Gaza and Israel — militants fired rockets into Israel on Sunday and Israel responded with airstrikes — Pompeo said, “It is separate from that.”

The Trump administration has been intensifying its pressure campaign against Iran.

Last month, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would no longer exempt any countries from U.S. sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, a decision that primarily affects the five remaining major importers: China and India and U.S. treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey.

The U.S. also recently designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group, the first ever for an entire division of another government.

Trump withdrew from the Obama administration’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and, in the months that followed, reimposed punishing sanctions including those targeting Iran’s oil, shipping and banking sectors.

 

Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, other resources dispatched to Middle East over unspecified Iran threats

Story 2: After Nearly 700 Rockets From Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza Strip Kills 4 Israelis and 22 Palestinians — Israeli Airstrikes Attack Hamas and Kill Commander in Gaza City — Ceasefire Reached But Most Likely Will Not Hold — Videos

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War – Edwin Starr

Billy Joel – Piano Man (Video)

Piano Man
It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Makin’ love to his tonic and gin
He says, “Son, can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes”
La la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum
Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright
Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be
He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me”
As the smile ran away from his face
“Well I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place”
Oh, la la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum
Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talkin’ with Davy, who’s still in the Navy
And probably will be for life
And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it’s better than drinkin’ alone
Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you got us feeling alright
It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been comin’ to see
To forget about life for a while
And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, “Man, what are you doin’ here?”
Oh, la la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum
Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you got us feeling alright
Songwriters: Billy Joel
Piano Man lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire (Official Video)

 

Israel kill Hamas commander in airstrike and ‘prepares Gaza ground invasion’ as it hits back after 600 militant rockets kill four and injure 66

  • An Israeli man, 58, became the first citizen to be killed in the Middle East hostilities since the 2014 war
  • Seven Palestinians, including a pregnant mother and her baby daughter, were also reportedly killed 
  • Israeli PM Netanyahu said Hamas is paying a ‘heavy price’ and has ordered ground troops up to Gaza’s border
  • Three Israelis, including an 80-year-old woman, were also wounded by rocket fire in the weekend of combat

Israel has reportedly killed a Hamas commander in a series of airstrikes amid reports it is planning to invade Gaza following a series of skirmishes with Palestinians.

A military statement said that commander Hamed Ahmed Abed Khudri had been killed in a targeted air strike on his car on Sunday.

Khudri was reportedly responsible for transferring funds from Iran to armed factions in Gaza. Palestinian witnesses said he was killed in an air strike on his car.

Four Israelis and 22 Palestinians, including two pregnant woman and an infant, have died so far in air strikes which began as Palestinians fired 600 rockets across the border on Friday.

It comes as Israel’s ground troops are reportedly preparing to siege the Gaza perimeter.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Hamas, the dissident group which rules Gaza, is paying a ‘heavy price’ for its attacks on his country.

And he has ordered a large military corps up to the besieged enclave as the month-long ceasefire is left in tatters.

A building in Gaza city is totally destroyed by an explosion on Sunday as Israel fired high-powered missiles across the border into Palestinian territory

A building in Gaza city is totally destroyed by an explosion on Sunday as Israel fired high-powered missiles across the border into Palestinian territory

A missile from Israel's 'Iron Dome' defence system is launched to defend the border from Palestinian rocket attacks. The Iron Dome works to intercept the rockets and explode them in midair

A missile from Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ defence system is launched to defend the border from Palestinian rocket attacks. The Iron Dome works to intercept the rockets and explode them in midair

Palestinians inspect a destroyed car of Hamas member Hamed Al-Khodari after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Sunday

Smoke rises after Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes in Gaza City as part of Benjamin Netanyahu's retaliation front

Smoke rises after Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes in Gaza City as part of Benjamin Netanyahu’s retaliation front

Israel's troops are reportedly preparing to siege the Gaza border (airstrikes aftermath in the Strip) after Palestinian militants fired more than 450 rockets on to their territory which killed the first Israeli citizen since 2014

Israel’s troops are reportedly preparing to siege the Gaza border (airstrikes aftermath in the Strip) after Palestinian militants fired more than 450 rockets on to their territory which killed the first Israeli citizen since 2014

Seven Palestinians have also died, including a pregnant woman and a one-year-old-baby, in airstrikes which formed part of Israel's retaliation (pictured: building in the enclave destroyed)

Seven Palestinians have also died, including a pregnant woman and a one-year-old-baby, in airstrikes which formed part of Israel’s retaliation (pictured: building in the enclave destroyed)

Palestinians are seen in a damaged house near a totally collapsed building after Israeli army carried out airstrikes in Rafah, Gaza

Israelis take cover as a siren sounds warning of incoming rockets from Gaza during cross-border hostilities in the southern city of Ashkelon

Israelis take cover as a siren sounds warning of incoming rockets from Gaza during cross-border hostilities in the southern city of Ashkelon

Israeli airstrikes targeted the city of Rafah on the Gaza strip after Hamas militants launched a barrage of rockets across the border

I

In a statement to his cabinet this morning, Mr Netanyahu said: ‘I instructed the military this morning to continue its massive strikes on terror elements in the Gaza Strip and ordered it to reinforce the troops around the Gaza Strip with tanks, artillery and infantry force.’

Moshe Agadi, a 58-year-old father of four, was struck in the chest by shrapnel during a missile strike on the city of Ashkelon near the border and marked the fighting’s first Israeli fatality in five years.

Eight Palestinian militants have also died in airstrikes which formed part of Israel’s retaliation that Mr Netanyahu has vowed to continue.

A pregnant woman and a one-year-old baby were also killed, but Israel is claiming that their deaths were caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.

And Israeli Defence Forces are standing by to invade the blockaded Gaza strip, according to the Independent.

The fighting came as leaders from Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, and the smaller armed faction Islamic Jihad, were in Cairo for talks with Egyptian mediators aimed at preventing a fraying ceasefire from collapsing altogether.

It also comes at a sensitive time for Israel, which is to mark its Memorial Day and Independence Day holiday this week, before hosting the Eurovision song contest in the middle of the month. Prolonged fighting could overshadow the Eurovision and potentially deter international travelers from coming in for the festive event.

On Saturday video footage of a family screaming in fear during rocket attacks was posted on social media.

Israel and Hamas, an Islamic group that opposes Israel’s existence, have fought three wars and dozens of smaller flare-ups of violence since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.

A picture taken in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 5, 2019 shows an explosion following an airstrike by Israel

The fighting came as leaders from Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, and the smaller armed faction Islamic Jihad, were in Cairo for talks with Egyptian mediators (pictured: A target explodes during airstrikes in Gaza City, May 4)

An explosion is pictured among buildings during an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City on May 4, 2019

Palestinians gather on the beach in Gaza City as smoke and fire billow following airstrikes by Israel in response to rockets fired by Palestinian militants

The Gaza health ministry reported a 22-year-old man as well as a 14-month-old baby and her pregnant mother killed, with 17 others wounded

The Gaza health ministry reported a 22-year-old man as well as a 14-month-old baby and her pregnant mother killed, with 17 others wounded

An Israeli army spokeswoman said the military did not have any information on the incident involving the baby. The army said earlier it was targeting only military sites (pictured: Gaza City)

An Israeli army spokeswoman said the military did not have any information on the incident involving the baby. The army said earlier it was targeting only military sites (pictured: Gaza City)

Missiles are fired from Israel's Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells,

Missiles are fired from Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells,

Gaza's militant strongholds came under fire (fireball pictured) from Israeli troops after they launched rockets into southern Israel

Gaza’s militant strongholds came under fire (fireball pictured) from Israeli troops after they launched rockets into southern Israel

One woman was seriously injured in a rocket strike on the Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, some 13 miles from the Gaza border, police said (pictured: Gaza City)

One woman was seriously injured in a rocket strike on the Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, some 13 miles from the Gaza border, police said (pictured: Gaza City)

They engaged in several days of heavy fighting in March before Egypt brokered a truce in which Israel agreed to ease a crippling blockade on Gaza in exchange for a halt in rocket fire.

In recent days, Hamas accused Israel of reneging on its pledges as militants began to fire rockets into Israel.

In a familiar scene, air raid sirens wailed across southern Israel throughout the day and into the evening as barrages of rockets were repeatedly fired.

Retaliatory airstrikes caused large explosions to thunder across Gaza, as plumes of smoke rose into the air. Outgoing Palestinian rockets left long trails of smoke behind them.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said a 14-month-old girl, Seba Abu Arar, was killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit their home in east Gaza City. Her pregnant mother, 37, was severely wounded and died later at the hospital, the ministry added. Another child was moderately injured.

Pictured: Smoke and flames rise following an Israeli airstrike on a building in Gaza city Israeli airstrike
Retaliatory airstrikes caused large explosions to thunder across Gaza, as plumes of smoke rose into the air. Outgoing Palestinian rockets left long trails of smoke behind them (pictured: An explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike)

Retaliatory airstrikes caused large explosions to thunder across Gaza, as plumes of smoke rose into the air. Outgoing Palestinian rockets left long trails of smoke behind them (pictured: An explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike)

The Israeli military accused the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad of instigating the latest round of violence by shooting and wounding two Israeli soldiers Friday (pictured: Fire rises in Gaza on May 4)

The Israeli military accused the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad of instigating the latest round of violence by shooting and wounding two Israeli soldiers Friday (pictured: Fire rises in Gaza on May 4)

In the morning, Gaza’s Health Ministry said a 22-year-old Palestinian man was killed by an Israeli airstrike, and 13 other Palestinians were wounded. Late on Saturday, health officials said a 25-year-old man was killed by an Israeli drone missile as he was traveling on a motorbike in northern Gaza.

In Israel, medical officials said an 80-year-old woman was severely wounded by rocket fire, a 50-year-old man was moderately wounded by shrapnel and a teenage boy was mildly hurt as he ran for cover. Israeli police said a house in the coastal city of Ashkelon was damaged.

The Israeli military accused the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad of instigating the latest round of violence by shooting and wounding two Israeli soldiers Friday. It said the shooting was not coordinated with Hamas, but said it holds Hamas, as the territory’s ruling power, responsible for all fire emanating from Gaza.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said ‘the United States strongly condemns the ongoing barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza upon innocent civilians and their communities across Israel.’

‘We stand with Israel and fully support its right to self defense against these abhorrent attacks,’ she said in a statement.

Smoke rises after Israeli army carried out airstrike in Rafah, Gaza on May 4, 2019

Smoke rises after Israeli army carried out airstrike in Rafah, Gaza on May 4, 2019

Israeli bomb squad inspect the remains of a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli Kibbutz of Yad Mordechai

Israeli bomb squad inspect the remains of a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli Kibbutz of Yad Mordechai

A picture taken from the southern Israeli village of Netiv Haasara shows an explosion caused by an Israeli air strike across the border in the Gaza Strip+28

A picture taken from the southern Israeli village of Netiv Haasara shows an explosion caused by an Israeli air strike across the border in the Gaza Strip

By nightfall, the army said militants had fired well over 200 rockets into Israel. It said dozens of the rockets were intercepted by its Iron Dome rocket-defense system. But it closed roads near the Gaza border to civilian traffic and closed a popular beach as a security precaution.

The military said it struck some 120 targets in Gaza, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad military compounds, a Hamas rocket-manufacturing site and a ‘high-end Islamic Jihad tunnel’ that it said stretched into Israel for use in attacks.

Late on Saturday, Israel struck a building that it said housed Hamas military intelligence offices in Gaza City. Another airstrike hit a six-story commercial and residential building. Journalists said the building housed the office of Turkey’s news agency Anadolu. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, said it was closing the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast altogether and sealing Israel’s two land crossings with Gaza. The crossings are used by Palestinian medical patients to enter and exit the territory, and provide the main entry for cargo into the blockaded territory.

The U.N.’s Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, said the United Nations was working with Egypt to restore calm and called on all sides to ‘de-escalate’ and restore recent understandings.

A missile fired from Israel's Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells races towards Gaza

A missile fired from Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells races towards Gaza

Damage to a house is seen after a rocket fired from Gaza Strip hit in the southern Israeli city Kiryat Gat, May 4

Damage to a house is seen after a rocket fired from Gaza Strip hit in the southern Israeli city Kiryat Gat, May 4

A statement from Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, allied to Hamas, claimed responsibility for at least some of the rocket fire and said it was prepared for more if necessary (pictured, rocket fired from Gaza towards Israel)

‘Those who seek to destroy them will bear responsibility for a conflict that will have grave consequences for all,’ he said in a statement.

The European Union’s ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, sharply criticized the rocket attacks on Twitter, saying ‘firing indiscriminately against civilians (is) unacceptable.’

Islamic Jihad, which sometimes acts independently of Hamas, threatened to fire longer range rockets toward Israel’s heartland. In a video that also was seen an implicit claim of responsibility, it showed archived footage of militants attaching warheads to rockets.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.

Under the recent understandings, Israel agreed to expand a fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, increased imports into Gaza and allow the Gulf state of Qatar to deliver aid to cash-strapped Gaza. But like previous Egyptian-mediated agreements, those understandings have shown signs of unraveling in recent days.

On Friday, two Palestinians were fatally shot by Israeli forces during the weekly protests along Israel-Gaza perimeter fence. Palestinian militants also shot and wounded two Israeli soldiers along the border fence. No group claimed responsibility for the shooting. In response, Israeli aircraft carried out retaliatory strikes, killing two Hamas militants.

Hamas has hoped that Egyptian mediators could further ease the blockade, which has ravaged Gaza’s economy. For over a year, the Islamic group has orchestrated mass demonstrations each week along the Israeli frontier to draw attention to Gaza’s plight. More than 200 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have been killed in the border protests.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6994193/Israels-army-ready-launch-ground-invasion-Gaza-militants-fired-450-rockets.html

Hamas

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Hamas
حركة المقاومة الاسلامية
Spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum
Chief of the Political Bureau Ismail Haniya
Deputy Chief of the Political Bureau Mousa Abu Marzouq and Khaled Mashal[1]
Founder Sheikh Ahmed YassinAbdel Aziz al-RantissiMahmoud Zahar and 4 others.
Founded 1987
Preceded by Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood
Headquarters GazaGaza Strip
Ideology
Religion Sunni Islam
International affiliation Muslim Brotherhood
Axis of Resistance
Colours Green
Legislative Council (2006)

74 / 132

Party flag
Flag of Hamas.svg
Website
hamas.ps/en

Hamas (Arabic: حماس Ḥamās, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement) is a Palestinian SunniIslamist fundamentalist organization.[9][10] It has a social service wing, Dawah, and a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. It has been the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip since its takeover of that area in 2007.[11][12] During this period it fought several wars with Israel.[13] It is regarded, either in whole or in part, as a terrorist organization by several countries and international organizations, most notably by Israel, the United States and the European Union.[14][15][16] Russia, China, and Turkey are among countries who do not regard it so.[17][18][19][20]

Hamas was founded in 1987,[21][22] soon after the First Intifada broke out, as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,[23][24] which in its Gaza branch had been non-confrontational towards Israel, refrained from resistance, and was hostile to the PLO.[25] Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987, and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.[26][27] The group has stated that it may accept a 10-year truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders and allows Palestinian refugees from 1948, including their descendants, to return to what is now Israel,[28][29][30][31] although clarifying that this does not mean recognition of Israel or the end of the conflict.[32] Hamas’s military wing objected to the truce offer.[33] Analysts have said that it seems clear that Hamas knows that many of its conditions for the truce could never be met.[34]

The military wing of Hamas has launched attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, often describing them as retaliatory, in particular for assassinations of the upper echelon of their leadership.[35] Tactics have included suicide bombings and, since 2001, rocket attacks.[36][37][38][39] Hamas’s rocket arsenal, though mainly consisting of short-range homemade Qassam rockets,[40] also includes long-range weapons that have reached major Israeli cities including Tel Aviv and Haifa.[41][42] The attacks on civilians have been condemned as war crimes and crimes against humanity by human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch.[43][44] A 2017 Palestinian Center for Public Opinion poll in the Palestinian territories revealed that Hamas violence and rhetoric against Israelis are unpopular and that a majority of Palestinians would rather Hamas “accept a permanent two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.”[45]

In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas won a plurality in the Palestinian Parliament,[46] defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the Quartet (the United States, Russia, United Nations, and European Union) made future foreign assistance to the PA conditional upon the future government’s commitment to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements. Hamas rejected those changes, which led to the Quartet suspending its foreign assistance program and Israel imposing economic sanctions on the Hamas-led administration.[47][48] In March 2007, a national unity government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance.[49] Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted in the 2007 Battle of Gaza,[49] after which Hamas took control of Gaza, while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank.[49] Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, on the grounds that Fatah forces were no longer providing security there.[50] In 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government.[51] Progress stalled, until an April 2014 agreementto form a compromise unity government, with elections to be held in late 2014.[52]

Contents

Etymology

Hamas is an acronym of the Arabic phrase حركة المقاومة الاسلامية or Harakat al-Muqāwama al-Islāmiyya, meaning “Islamic Resistance Movement”. The Arabic word ‘hamas’ (حماس) means “courage” or “zeal”.[53] The Hamas covenant interprets its name to mean “strength and bravery”.[54][55]

Aims

Hamas, as its name (Islamic Resistance Movement) implies, aims to liberate Palestine from the Israeli occupation by resisting it.[56] And according to Hamas armed branch Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades:

To contribute in the effort of liberating Palestine and restoring the rights of the Palestinian people under the sacred Islamic teachings of the Holy Quran, the Sunnah (traditions) of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the traditions of Muslims rulers and scholars noted for their piety and dedication.[57]

Al-Qassam Brigades aims to liberate all of Palestine from what they describe as Zionist occupation, and to achieve the rights of the Palestinian people that were robbed by the occupation, and it consider itself part of the movement of a project of national liberation.[58]

Leadership and structure

Map of key Hamas leadership nodes. 2010

Longtime leader, Khaled Meshaal

Hamas inherited from its predecessor a tripartite structure that consisted in the provision of social services, of religious training and military operations under a Shura Council. Traditionally it had four distinct functions: (a) a charitable social welfare division (dawah); (b) a military division for procuring weapons and undertaking operations (al-Mujahideen al Filastinun); (c) a security service (Jehaz Aman); and (d) a media branch (A’alam).[59] Hamas has both an internal leadership within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and an external leadership, split between a Gaza group directed by Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook from his exile first in Damascus and then in Egypt, and a Kuwaiti group (Kuwaidia) under Khaled Mashal.[60] The Kuwaiti group of Palestinian exiles began to receive extensive funding from the Gulf States after its leader Mashal broke with Yasser Arafat‘s decision to side with Saddam Hussein in the Invasion of Kuwait, with Mashal insisting that Iraq withdraw.[61] On 6 May 2017, Hamas’ Shura Council chose Ismail Haniya to become the new leader, to replace Mashal.[62]

The exact nature of the organization is unclear, secrecy being maintained for fear of Israeli assassinations and to conceal operational activities. Formally, Hamas maintains the wings are separate and independent. Matthew Levitt maintains this is a public myth. Davis argues that they are both separate and combined for reasons of internal and external political necessity. Communication between the political and military wings of Hamas is difficult, owing to the thoroughness of Israeli intelligence surveillance and the existence of an extensive base of informants. After the assassination of Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi the occasional political direction of the militant wing diminished, with field commanders given discretional autonomy on operations.[63]

Consultative councils

The governing body is the Majlis al-Shura. The principle behind the Council is based on the Qur’anic concept of consultation and popular assembly (shura), which Hamas leaders argue provides for democracy within an Islamic framework.[64] As the organization grew more complex and Israeli pressure increased it needed a broader base for decisions, the Shura Council was renamed the ‘General Consultative Council’, elected from members of local council groups and this in turn elected a 15-member Politburo (al-Maktab al-Siyasi)[65] that made decisions at the highest level. Representatives come from Gaza, the West Bank, leaders in exile and Israeli prisons.[66] This organ was located in Damascus until the Syrian Civil War led it to transfer to Qatar in January 2012, when Hamas sided with the civil opposition against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.[66][67]

Social services wing

Hamas developed its social welfare programme by replicating the model established by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.For them, charity and the development of one’s community are prescribed by religion, and, at the same time, are to be understood as forms of resistance.[68] In Islamic tradition dawah (lit.’the call to God’) obliges the faithful to reach out to others by both proselytising and by charitable works, and typically the latter centre on the mosques which make use of both waqf endowment resources and charitable donations (zakat) to fund grassroots services like nurseries, schools, orphanages, soup kitchens, women’s activities, library services and even sporting clubs within a larger context of preaching and political discussions.[69] In the 1990s, some 85% of its budget was allocated to the provision of social services.[70] It has been called perhaps the most significant social services actor in Palestine. By 2000 it or its affiliated charities ran roughly 40% of the social institutions in the West Bank and Gaza and, with other Islamic charities, by 2005 was supporting 120,000 individuals with monthly financial support in Gaza.[71] Part of the appeal of these institutions is that they fill a vacuum in the administration by the PLO of the Palestinian territories, which had failed to cater to the demand for jobs and broad social services, and is widely viewed as corrupt.[72] As late as 2005, the budget of Hamas, drawing on global charity contributions, was mostly tied up in covering running expenses for its social programmes, which extended from the supply of housing, food and water for the needy to more general functions like financial aid, medical assistance, educational development and religious instruction. A certain accounting flexibility allowed these funds to cover both charitable causes and military operations, permitting transfer from one to the other.[73]

The dawah infrastructure itself was understood, within the Palestinian context, as providing the soil from which a militant opposition to the occupation would flower.[74] In this regard it differs from the rival Palestinian Islamic Jihadwhich lacks any social welfare network, and relies on spectacular terrorist attacks to recruit adherents.[75] In 2007, through funding from Iran, Hamas managed to allocate at a cost of $60 million, monthly stipends of $100 for 100,000 workers, and a similar sum for 3,000 fishermen laid idle by Israel’s imposition of restrictions on fishing offshore, plus grants totalling $45 million to detainees and their families.[76] Matthew Levitt argues that Hamas grants to people are subject to a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of how beneficiaries will support Hamas, with those linked to terrorist activities receiving more than others.[77] Israel holds the families of suicide bombers accountable and bulldozes their homes, whereas the families of Hamas activists who have been killed or wounded during militant operations are given an initial, one-time grant varying between $500–$5,000, together with a $100 monthly allowance. Rent assistance is also given to families whose homes have been destroyed by Israeli bombing though families unaffiliated with Hamas are said to receive less.[78][79]

Until 2007, these activities extended to the West Bank, but, after a PLO crackdown, now continue exclusively in the Gaza Strip.[80] After the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état deposed the elected Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Hamas found itself in a financial straitjacket and has since endeavoured to throw the burden of responsibility for public works infrastructure in the Gaza Strip back onto the Palestinian National Authority, but without success.[81]

Military wing

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing was formed in either mid-1991[82][83] or 1992, under the direction of Yahya Ayyash, a Hamas field-commander and bomb-maker assassinated by Israel in 1996. It was constituted from units associated with the earlier al-Jihad wa Da’wa, an umbrella group that had gathered in militants from various Islamic resistance cells like the Al-Mujahidun al-Filastiniun (Palestinian fighters).[84][85] established by Salah Shehade in 1986.[86]

The wing takes its name from the prewar militant Palestinian nationalist Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, though Hamas cells sometimes refer to themselves as “Students of Ayyash”, “Students of the Engineer”, or “Yahya Ayyash Units”.[85] At the outset, weapons were hard to come by, and the organization began to resort to intermittent kidnappings of soldiers to secure arms and munitions. This approach had been justified two years earlier when, in the wake of the killing of some 20 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces dispersing protestors at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1990, Hamas had declared every Israeli soldier a legitimate target.[87]

Weapons found in a mosque during Operation Cast Lead, according to the IDF

Ayyash, with a degree in electrical engineering, quickly improved Hamas’s strike capacity by developing IEDs and promoting the tactic of suicide bombings.[88] By the time of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Hamas’s laboratories had devised a primitive form of rocketry, the Qassam 1, which they first launched in October 2000, carrying a 500 gram warhead with a throw range of 4 kilometres. Both propellant and the explosive were manufactured from chemical fertilizers, though TNT was also tried.[89] Over the next five years of the conflict, a 3-kilogram-warhead-armed version with a strike range of 6–8 kilometres, the Qassam 2, was also produced[90] and in an incremental rise, these rocket types were fired towards Israeli settlements along the Gaza Strip: 4 in 2001, 35 in 2002, 155 in 2003, 281 in 2004, and 179 in 2005. By 2005, the Qassam 3 had been engineered with a 12–14 kilometre range and a 15 kilo warhead. By 2006, 942 such rockets were launched into southern Israel.[91] During the War with Israel in 2008–2009, Hamas deployed 122-mm Grad rocketry with a 20–40 kilometre range and a 30 kilogram warhead and a variety of guided Kornet antitank missiles.[92] By 2012 Hamas had engineered a version of the Fajr-5 rocket, which was capable of reaching as far as Tel Aviv, as was shown after the assassination of Ahmed Jabari in that year. In the 2014 war its advanced rocketry reached Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.[93] Hamas deployed its increasingly sophisticated[dubious] rocketry to replace its martyrdom operations.[94]

While the number of members is known only to the Brigades leadership, Israel estimates the Brigades have a core of several hundred members who receive military style training, including training in Iran and in Syria (before the Syrian Civil War).[85] Additionally, the brigades have an estimated 10,000–17,000 operatives,[95][96] forming a backup force whenever circumstances call for reinforcements for the Brigade. Recruitment training lasts for two years.[85]

The group’s ideology outlines its aim as the liberation of Palestine and the restoration of Palestinian rights under the dispensations set forth in the Qur’an, and this translates into three policy priorities:

To evoke the spirit of Jihad (Resistance) among Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims; to defend Palestinians and their land against the Zionist occupation and its manifestations; to liberate Palestinians and their land that was usurped by the Zionist occupation forces and settlers.[97]

According to its official stipulations, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ military operations are to be restricted to operating only inside Palestine, engaging with Israeli soldiers, and in exercising the right of self-defense against armed settlers. They are to avoid civilian targets, to respect the enemy’s humanity by refraining from mutilation, defacement or excessive killing, and to avoid targeting Westerners either in the occupied zones or beyond.[98]

In practice, Hamas altered its approach restricting actions to ‘legitimate military targets’ by extended them to Israeli civilians after 7 years.[96] Though between 1996 and 2001 it generally refrained from targeting Israeli civilians,[99] it adopted sporadic suicide bombings in the wake of the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, when an Israeli settler in military fatigues, Baruch Goldstein, shot dead 29 Muslims at prayer in 1993.[100][101][102] After the Al Aqsa revolt, the Brigades were behind most of the suicide bombings in Israel, a measure it defended as a form of “reciprocity”.[99]

Down to 2007, the Brigades are estimated to have lost some 800 operatives in conflicts with Israeli forces. The leadership has been consistently undermined by targeted assassinations. Aside from Yahya Ayyash (5 January 1996), it has lost Emad Akel (24 November 1993) Salah Shehade, (23 July 2002), Ibrahim al-Makadmeh, (8 March 2003) Ismail Abu Shanab, (21 August 2003) Ahmed Yassin (March 22, 2004) and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi,( April 17, 2004).,[54][94][103]

After Israel arrested hundreds of its members in May 1989, Hamas regionalized its command system to make its operative structure more diffuse,[72] and minimize the chances of being detected.[104] The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades groups its fighters in 4–5 man cells, which in turn are integrated into companies and battalions. Unlike the political section, which is split between an internal and external structure, the Brigades are under a local Palestinian leadership, and disobedience with the decisions taken by the political leadership have been relatively rare.[105]

Although the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades are an integral part of Hamas, the exact nature of the relationship is hotly debated. They appear to operate at times independently of Hamas, exercising a certain autonomy.[106][107][108][109][110] Some cells have independent links with the external leadership, enabling them to bypass the hierarchical command chain and political leadership in Gaza.[104] Ilana Kass and Bard O’Neill, likening Hamas’s relationship with the Brigades to the political party Sinn Féin‘s relationship to the military arm of the Irish Republican Army. quote a senior Hamas official as stating: “The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade is a separate armed military wing, which has its own leaders who do not take their orders from Hamas and do not tell us of their plans in advance.”[111] Matthew Levitton the other hand argues vocally for the idea that Hamas’s welfare institutions act as a mere façade or front for the financing of terrorism, and dismisses the idea of two wings as a ‘myth’.[107] He cites Sheikh Ahmad Yassin stating in 1998: “We can not separate the wing from the body. If we do so, the body will not be able to fly. Hamas is one body.”[112]

Finances and funding

At the 1993 Philadelphia conference, Hamas leaders’ statements indicated that they read George H. W. Bush‘s outline of a New World Order as embodying a tacit aim to destroy Islam, and that therefore funding should focus on enhancing the Islamic roots of Palestinian society and promoting jihad in the occupying territories.[113]

Hamas’s budget, calculated to be roughly US$70 million (2011), is derived in large part (85%)[114] from foreign, rather than internal Palestinian, sources. Only two Israeli-Palestinian sources figure in a list seized in 2004, while the other contributors were donor bodies located in Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Britain, Germany, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Italy and France. Much of the money raised comes from sources that direct their assistance to what Hamas describes as its charitable work for Palestinians, but investments in support of its ideological position are also relevant, with Persian Gulf States and Saudi Arabia prominent in the latter. Matthew Levitt states that Hamas also taps money from corporations, criminal organizations and financial networks that support terror,[115]and is believed to engage in cigarette and drug smuggling, multimedia copyright infringement and credit card fraud.[114] Vittori states that, more than other similar organizations, it is particularly careful about keeping resources for its militant, political and public works activities separate.[114] The United States, Israel and the EU have shut down many charities and organs that channel money to Hamas, such as the Holy Land Foundation for Relief.[116] Between 1992 and 2001 this group is said to have provided $6.8 million to Palestinian charities of the $57 million collected. By 2001 it was alleged to have given Hamas $13 million, and was shut down shortly afterwards.[117]

About half of Hamas’s funding came from states in the Persian Gulf down to the mid 2000s. Saudi Arabia supplied half of the Hamas budget of $50 million in the early 2000s,[118] but, under U.S. pressure, began cut its funding by cracking down on Islamic charities and private donor transfers to Hamas in 2004,[114] which by 2006 drastically reduced the flow of money from that area. Iran and Syria, in the aftermath of Hamas’s 2006 electoral victory, stepped in to fill the shortfall.[119][120] Saudi funding, negotiated with third parties like Egypt, remained supportive of Hamas as a Sunni group but chose to provide more assistance to the PNA, the electoral loser, when the EU responded to the outcome by suspending its monetary aid.[121] Iran in the 1980s began by providing 10% of Hamas’s funding, which it increased annually until by the 1990s it supplied $30 million.[118] It accounted for $22 million, over a quarter of Hamas’s budget, by the late 2000s.[114] According to Matthew Levitt, Iran preferred direct financing to operative groups rather than charities, requiring video proof of attacks.[114][122] Much of the Iran funding is said to be channeled through Hezbollah.[114] After 2006 Iran’s willingness to take over the burden of the shortfall created by the drying up of Saudi funding also reflected the geopolitical tensions between the two, since, though Shiite, Iran was supporting a Sunni group traditionally closely linked with the Saudi kingdom.[123] The US imposed sanctions on Iran’s Bank Saderat, alleging it had funneled hundreds of millions to Hamas.[124] The US has expressed concerns that Hamas obtains funds through Palestinian and Lebanese sympathizers of Arab descent in the Foz do Iguaçu area of the tri-border region of Latin America, an area long associated with arms trading, drug trafficking, contraband, the manufacture of counterfeit goods, money-laundering and currency fraud. The State Department adds that confirmatory information of a Hamas operational presence there is lacking.[125]

After 2009, sanctions on Iran made funding difficult, forcing Hamas to rely on religious donations by individuals in the West Bank, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Funds amounting to tens of millions of dollars raised in the Gulf states were transferred through the Rafah Border Crossing. These were not sufficient to cover the costs of governing the Strip and running the al Qassam Brigades, and when tensions arose with Iran over support of President Assad in Syria, Iran dropped its financial assistance to the government, restricting its funding to the military wing, which meant a drop from $150 million in 2012 to $60 million the following year. A further drop occurred in 2015 when Hamas expressed its criticisms of Iran’s role in the Yemeni Civil War.[126]

History

Gaza Islamic roots and establishment of Hamas

Hamas rose as an offshoot of the Gaza Mujama al-Islamiya branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,[127][128] which had been actively encouraged by Israel to expand as a counterweight to the influence of the secular Palestine Liberation Organization[23][129][130][131][132] and had since 1973 been quiescent and non-confrontational towards Israel.[133] Aside from developing Islamic charities to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, it emphasized social justice (adala) and the subordination of the world to the sovereignty of God (hakmiyya).[103][134] Hamas was founded in 1987,[103][135] soon after the outbreak of the First Intifada, the first popular uprising against the Israeli occupation. Creating Hamas to participate in the revolt was regarded as a survival measure to enable the Brotherhood itself, which refused to fight against Israel,[136] to hold its own against other competing Palestinian nationalist groups. By forming a military wing distinct from its social charity organizations, it was hoped that the latter would be insulated from being targeted by Israel.[137] Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin was convinced that Israel was endeavouring to destroy Islam, and concluded that loyal Muslims had a religious obligation to destroy Israel.[134] The short term goal of Hamas was to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from Israeli occupation. The long-term aim sought to establish an Islamic state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.[138]

Hamas Charter (1988)

The foundational document, the Hamas Charter (mīthāq ḥarakat), is dated 18 August 1988, and contains both antisemitic passages, characterizations of Israeli society as Nazi-like in its cruelty,[139] and irredentist claims that have never been revoked despite what some observers say are later policy changes in the organization regarding Israel[140][141] and the Jews.[142][143] It declares all of Palestine waqf property endowed by God to Muslims,[144] with religious coexistence under Islam’s wing.[145] The charter rejects a two-state solution, envisaging no peaceful settlement of the conflict apart from jihad.[146][147] It states that the movement’s aim is to

raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned’ (Article 6)[148][149]

and adds that, ‘when our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims’,[150] for which the whole of the land is non-negotiable, a position likened, without the racist sentiments present in the Hamas charter, to that in the Likud party platform and in movements like Gush Emunim. For Hamas, to concede territory is seen as equivalent to renouncing Islam itself.[151][152][153][154][155][156][157][158]

Decades down the line, Hamas’s official position changed with regard to a two-state solution. Khaled Mashaal, its leader, has publicly affirmed the movement’s readiness to accept such a division.[159][160] When Hamas won a majority in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Haniyeh, then president-elect, sent messages to both George Bush and Israel’s leaders asking to be recognized and offering a long-term truce (hudna), along the 1967 border lines. No response was forthcoming.[161]

Mousa Marzook said in 2007 that the charter could not be altered because it would look like a compromise not acceptable to the ‘street’ and risk fracturing the party’s unity. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has stated that the Charter is “a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons”. Ahmed Yousef, senior adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, added in 2011 that it reflected the views of the Elders in the face of a ‘relentless occupation.’ The details of its religious and political language had not been examined within the framework of international law, and an internal committee review to amend it was shelved out of concern not to offer concessions to Israel, as had Fatah, on a silver platter.[162] While Hamas representatives recognize the problem, one official notes that Arafat got very little in return for changing the PLO Charter under the Oslo Accords, and that there is agreement that little is gained from a non-violent approach.[163] Richard Davis says the dismissal by contemporary leaders of its relevance and yet the suspension of a desire to rewrite it reflects the differing constituencies Hamas must address, the domestic audience and international relations.[164] The charter itself is considered an ‘historical relic.’[165]

In March 2006, Hamas released its official legislative program. The document clearly signaled that Hamas could refer the issue of recognizing Israel to a national referendum. Under the heading “Recognition of Israel,” it stated simply (AFP, 3/11/06): “The question of recognizing Israel is not the jurisdiction of one faction, nor the government, but a decision for the Palestinian people.” This was a major shift away from their 1988 charter.[166] A few months later, via University of Maryland‘s Jerome Segal, the group sent a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush stating they “don’t mind having a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders”, and asked for direct negotiations: “Segal emphasized that a state within the 1967 borders and a truce for many years could be considered Hamas’s de facto recognition of Israel.”[167]

In an April 2008 meeting between Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, an understanding was reached in which Hamas agreed it would respect the creation of a Palestinian state in the territory seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, provided this were ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum. Hamas later publicly offered a long-term truce with Israel if Israel agreed to return to its 1967 borders and grant the “right of return” to all Palestinian refugees.[168] In November 2008, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh re-stated that Hamas was willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and offered Israel a long-term truce “if Israel recognized the Palestinians’ national rights”.[169] In 2009, in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Haniyeh repeated his group’s support for a two-state settlement based on 1967 borders: “We would never thwart efforts to create an independent Palestinian state with borders [from] June 4, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital.”[170] On December 1, 2010, Ismail Haniyeh again repeated, “We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,” and “Hamas will respect the results [of a referendum] regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles.”[171]

In February 2012, according to the Palestinian authority, Hamas forswore the use of violence. Evidence for this was provided by an eruption of violence from Islamic Jihad in March 2012 after an Israeli assassination of a Jihad leader, during which Hamas refrained from attacking Israel.[172] “Israel –– despite its mantra that because Hamas is sovereign in Gaza it is responsible for what goes on there – almost seems to understand,” wrote Israeli journalists Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, “and has not bombed Hamas offices or installations”.[173]

Israel has rejected some truce offers by Hamas because it contends the group uses them to prepare for more fighting rather than peace.[174] The Atlantic magazine columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, along with other analysts, believes Hamas may be incapable of permanent reconciliation with Israel.[175][176] Mkhaimer Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University, writes that Hamas talks “of hudna [temporary ceasefire], not of peace or reconciliation with Israel. They believe over time they will be strong enough to liberate all historic Palestine.”[177]

1990s

Hamas carried out its first attack against Israel in 1989, abducting and killing two soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces immediately arrested Yassin and sentenced him to life in prison, and deported 400 Hamas activists, including Zahar, to South Lebanon, which at the time was occupied by Israel. During this time Hamas built a relationship with Hezbollah. Hamas’s military branch, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was created in 1991.[178] During the 1990s the al-Qassam Brigades conducted numerous attacks on Israel, with both civilian and military victims. In April 1993, suicide bombings in the West Bank began.[179] After the February 1994 massacre by Baruch Goldstein of 30 Muslim civilians in a Hebron mosque, the al-Qassam Brigades began suicide attacks inside Israel.[180]

In December 1992 Israel responded to the killing of a border police officer by deporting 415 leading figures of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Lebanon, which provoked international condemnation and a unanimous UN Security Council resolution condemning the action.[181][182] Although the suicide attacks by the al-Qassam Brigades and other groups violated the 1993 Oslo accords (which Hamas opposed[183]), Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat was reluctant to pursue the attackers and may have had inadequate means to do so.[184] Some analysts state that the Palestinian Authority could have stopped the suicide and other attacks on civilians but refused to do so.[185] According to the Congressional Research Service, Hamas admitted to having executed Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israeli authorities in the 1990s. A transcript of a training film by the al-Qassam Brigades tells how Hamas operatives kidnapped Palestinians accused of collaboration and then forced confessions before executing them.[24] In 1996, Yahya Ayash, the chief bombmaker of Hamas and the leader of the West Bank battalion of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was assassinated by the Israeli secret service.[184][186]

In September 1997, Israeli agents in Jordan attempted but failed to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, leading to chilled relations between the two countries and release of Sheikh Yassin, Hamas’s spiritual leader, from Israeli prison. Two years later Hamas was banned in Jordan, reportedly in part at the request of the United States, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority.[187] Jordan’s King Abdullah feared the activities of Hamas and its Jordanian allies would jeopardize peace negotiations with Israel, and accused Hamas of engaging in illegitimate activities within Jordan.[188][189] In mid-September 1999, authorities arrested Hamas leaders Khaled Mashal and Ibrahim Ghosheh on their return from a visit to Iran, and charged them with being members of an illegal organization, storing weapons, conducting military exercises, and using Jordan as a training base.[188][189][190] Hamas leaders denied the charges.[187] Mashal was exiled and eventually settled in Syria. He fled to Qatar in 2012 as a result of the Syrian civil war.[citation needed]

Second Intifada

The aftermath of a bus bombing in Haifa in 2003.

Al-Qassam Brigades militants were among the armed groups that launched both military-style attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli civilian and military targets during the Second Intifada (also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada (Arabicانتفاضة الأقصى‎, Intifāat El AqaHebrewאינתיפאדת אל-אקצה‎, Intifādat El-Aqtzah), which began in late September 2000. This Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule in the occupied territories was much more violent than the First Intifada. The military and civilian death toll is estimated at 5500 Palestinians and more than 1100 Israelis, as well as 64 foreigners.[191] A 2007 study of Palestinian suicide bombings during the second intifada (September 2000 through August 2005) found that about 40 percent were carried out by the al-Qassam Brigades.[192]

The immediate trigger for the uprising is disputed, but a more general cause, writes U.S. political science professor Jeremy Pressman, was “popular Palestinian discontent [that] grew during the Oslo peace process because the reality on the ground did not match the expectations created by the peace agreements”.[193] Hamas would be the beneficiary of this growing discontent in the 2006 Palestinian Authority legislative elections.

In January 2004, Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said that the group would end armed resistance against Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state in the West BankGaza Strip, and east Jerusalem, and that restoring Palestinians’ “historical rights” (relating to the 1948 Palestinian exodus) “would be left for future generations”.[194] On January 25, 2004, senior Hamas official Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi offered a 10-year truce, or hudna, in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the complete withdrawal by Israel from the territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.[194] Al-Rantissi stated that Hamas had come to the conclusion that it was “difficult to liberate all our land at this stage, so we accept a phased liberation”.[194][195] Israel immediately dismissed al-Rantissi’s statements as insincere and a smokescreen for military preparations.[195] Yassin was assassinated on March 22, 2004, by a targeted Israeli air strike,[196] and al-Rantisi was assassinated by a similar air strike on April 18, 2004.[197]

2006 presidential and legislative elections

While Hamas boycotted the 2005 Palestinian presidential election, it did participate in the 2005 municipal elections organized by Yasser Arafat in the occupied territories. In those elections it won control of over one third of Palestinian municipal councils, besting Fatah, which had for long been the biggest force in Palestinian politics.[198] In its election manifesto for the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Hamas omitted a call for an end to Israel, though it did still call for armed struggle against the occupation.[199][200] Hamas won the 2006 elections, winning 76 of the 132 seats to Fatah’s 43.[201] Seen by many as primarily a rejection of the Fatah government’s corruption and ineffectiveness, the Hamas victory seemingly had brought to an end 40 years of PLO domination of Palestinian politics.[201][202]

Following its electoral victory, Hamas assumed the administration of the Gaza strip and introduced radical changes. Writing in Foreign AffairsDaniel Byman stated that

After it took over the Gaza Strip Hamas revamped the police and security forces, cutting them 50,000 members (on paper, at least) under Fatah to smaller, efficient forces of just over 10,000, which then cracked down on crime and gangs. No longer did groups openly carry weapons or steal with impunity. People paid their taxes and electric bills, and in return authorities picked up garbage and put criminals in jail. Gaza-neglected under Egyptian and then Israeli control, and misgoverned by Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and his successors-finally has a real government.’ [203]

In early February 2006, Hamas offered Israel a 10-year truce “in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories: the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem,”[46] and recognition of Palestinian rights including the “right of return”.[204]Mashal added that Hamas was not calling for a final end to armed operations against Israel, and it would not impede other Palestinian groups from carrying out such operations.[205] After the election, the Quartet on the Middle East (the United States, Russia, the European Union (EU), and the United Nations) stated that assistance to the Palestinian Authority would only continue if Hamas renounced violence, recognized Israel, and accepted previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements, which Hamas refused to do.[206] The Quartet then imposed a freeze on all international aid to the Palestinian territories.[207] In 2006 after the Gaza election, Hamas leader sent a letter addressed to George W. Bush where he among other things declared that Hamas would accept a state on the 1967 borders including a truce. However, the Bush administration did not reply.[208]

Legislative policy and reforming the judiciary

Stress the separation between the three powers, the legislative, executive and judicial; activate the role of the Constitutional Court; re-form the Judicial Supreme Council and choose its members by elections and on the basis of qualifications rather than partisan, personal, and social considerations … ; enact the necessary laws that guarantee the neutrality of general prosecutor … [and] laws that will stop any transgression by the executive power on the constitution.[209]

Public freedoms and citizen rights

“Achieve equality before the law among citizens in rights and duties; bring security to all citizens and protect their properties and assure their safety against arbitrary arrest, torture, or revenge; stress the culture of dialogue … ; support the press and media institutions and maintain the right of journalists to access and to publish information; maintain freedom and independence of professional syndicates and preserve the rights of their membership”.[209]

Hamas–Fatah conflict

Hamas rally in Bethlehem

After the formation of the Hamas-led cabinet on March 20, 2006, tensions between Fatah and Hamas militants progressively rose in the Gaza strip as Fatah commanders refused to take orders from the government while the Palestinian Authority initiated a campaign of demonstrations, assassinations and abductions against Hamas, which led to Hamas responding.[210] Israeli intelligence warned Mahmoud Abbas that Hamas had planned to kill him at his office in Gaza. According to a Palestinian source close to Abbas, Hamas considers president Abbas to be a barrier to its complete control over the Palestinian Authority and decided to kill him. In a statement to Al Jazeera, Hamas leader Mohammed Nazzal, accused Abbas of being party to besieging and isolating the Hamas-led government.[211]

On June 9, 2006, during an Israeli artillery operation, an explosion occurred on a busy Gaza beach, killing eight Palestinian civilians.[212][213] It was assumed that Israeli shellings were responsible for the killings, but Israeli government officials denied this.[214][215] Hamas formally withdrew from its 16-month ceasefire on June 10, taking responsibility for the subsequent Qassam rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel.[216]

On June 25, two Israeli soldiers were killed and another, Gilad Shalit, captured following an incursion by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam BrigadesPopular Resistance Committees and Army of Islam. In response, the Israeli military launched Operation Summer Rains three days later, to secure the release of the kidnapped soldier,[217][218][219] arresting 64 Hamas officials. Among them were 8 Palestinian Authority cabinet ministers and up to 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council,[219] The arrests, along with other events, effectively prevented the Hamas-dominated legislature from functioning during most of its term.[220][221] Shalit was held captive until 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.[222] Since then, Hamas has continued building a network of internal and cross-border tunnels,[223] which are used to store and deploy weapons, shield militants, and facilitate cross-border attacks. Destroying the tunnels was a primary objective of Israeli forces in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.[224][225]

In February 2007 Saudi-sponsored negotiations in Mecca produced agreement on a signed by Mahmoud Abbas on behalf of Fatah and Khaled Mashal on behalf of Hamas. The new government was called on to achieve Palestinian national goals as approved by the Palestine National Council, the clauses of the Basic Law and the National Reconciliation Document (the “Prisoners’ Document”) as well as the decisions of the Arab summit.[226]

In March 2007, the Palestinian Legislative Council established a national unity government, with 83 representatives voting in favor and three against. Government ministers were sworn in by Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, at a ceremony held simultaneously in Gaza and Ramallah. In June that year, renewed fighting broke out between Hamas and Fatah.[227] In the course of the June 2007 Battle of Gaza, Hamas exploited the near total collapse of Palestinian Authority forces in Gaza, to seize[228] control of Gaza, ousting Fatah officials. President Mahmoud Abbas then dismissed the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government.[229] and outlawed the Hamas militia.[230] At least 600 Palestinians died in fighting between Hamas and Fatah.[231] Human Rights Watch, a U.S.-based group, accused both sides in the conflict of torture and war crimes.[232]

Human Rights Watch estimates several hundred Gazans were “maimed” and tortured in the aftermath of the Gaza War. 73 Gazan men accused of “collaborating” had their arms and legs broken by “unidentified perpetrators” and 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel, who had escaped from Gaza’s main prison compound after Israel bombed the facility, were executed by Hamas security officials in the first days of the conflict.[233][234] Hamas security forces attacked hundreds Fatah officials who supported Israel. Human Rights Watch interviewed one such person:

There were eight of us sitting there. We were all from Fatah. Then three masked militants broke in. They were dressed in brown camouflage military uniforms; they all had guns. They pointed their guns at us and cursed us, then they began beating us with iron rods, including a 10-year-old boy whom they hit in the face. They said we were “collaborators” and “unfaithful”.

They beat me with iron sticks and gun butts for 15 minutes. They were yelling: “You are happy that Israel is bombing us!” until people came out of their houses, and they withdrew.[233]

In March 2012 Mahmoud Abbas stated that there were no political differences between Hamas and Fatah as they had reached agreement on a joint political platform and on a truce with Israel. Commenting on relations with Hamas, Abbas revealed in an interview with Al Jazeera that “We agreed that the period of calm would be not only in the Gaza Strip, but also in the West Bank,” adding that “We also agreed on a peaceful popular resistance [against Israel], the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and that the peace talks would continue if Israel halted settlement construction and accepted our conditions.”[235][236] Progress has stalled, until an April 2014 agreement to form a compromise unity government, with elections to be held in late 2014.[52]

2008–2009 Gaza War

On June 17, 2008, Egyptian mediators announced that an informal truce had been agreed to between Hamas and Israel.[237][238] Hamas agreed to cease rocket attacks on Israel, while Israel agreed to allow limited commercial shipping across its border with Gaza, barring any breakdown of the tentative peace deal; Hamas also hinted that it would discuss the release of Gilad Shalit.[239] Israeli sources state that Hamas also committed itself to enforce the ceasefire on the other Palestinian organizations.[240] Even before the truce was agreed to, some on the Israeli side were not optimistic about it, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin stating in May 2008 that a ground incursion into Gaza was unavoidable and would more effectively quell arms smuggling and pressure Hamas into relinquishing power.[241]

While Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire, the lull was sporadically violated by other groups, sometimes in defiance of Hamas.[240][242][243] For example, on June 24 Islamic Jihad launched rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot; Israel called the attack a grave violation of the informal truce, and closed its border crossings with Gaza.[244] On November 4, 2008, Israeli forces, in an attempt to stop construction of a tunnel, killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid inside the Gaza Strip.[245][246] Hamas responded by resuming rocket attacks, a total of 190 rockets in November according to Israel’s military.[247]

Destroyed building in Rafah, 12 January 2009

With the six-month truce officially expired on December 19, Hamas launched 50 to more than 70 rockets and mortars into Israel over the next three days, though no Israelis were injured.[248][249] On December 21, Hamas said it was ready to stop the attacks and renew the truce if Israel stopped its “aggression” in Gaza and opened up its border crossings.[249][250]

On December 27 and 28, Israel implemented Operation Cast Lead against Hamas. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said “We warned Hamas repeatedly that rejecting the truce would push Israel to aggression against Gaza.” According to Palestinian officials, over 280 people were killed and 600 were injured in the first two days of airstrikes.[251] Most were Hamas police and security officers, though many civilians also died.[251] According to Israel, militant training camps, rocket-manufacturing facilities and weapons warehouses that had been pre-identified were hit, and later they attacked rocket and mortar squads who fired around 180 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities.[252] Chief of Gaza police force Tawfiq Jabber, head of the General Security Service Salah Abu Shrakh,[253] senior religious authority and security officer Nizar Rayyan,[254] and Interior Minister Said Seyam[255] were among those killed during the fighting. Although Israel sent out thousands of cell-phone messages urging residents of Gaza to leave houses where weapons may be stored, in an attempt to minimise civilian casualties,[252] some residents complained there was nowhere to go because many neighborhoods had received the same message.[252][256][257] Israeli bombs landed close to civilian structures such as schools,[258][259] and some alleged that Israel was deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians.[260]

Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire on January 17, 2009.[261] Hamas responded the following day by announcing a one-week ceasefire to give Israel time to withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip.[262] Israeli, Palestinian, and third-party sources disagreed on the total casualty figures from the Gaza war, and the number of Palestinian casualties who were civilians.[263][264] In November 2010, a senior Hamas official acknowledged that up to 300 fighters were killed and “In addition to them, between 200 and 300 fighters from the Al-Qassam Brigades and another 150 security forces were martyred.” These new numbers reconcile the total with those of the Israeli military, which originally said were 709 “terror operatives” killed.[265][266]

After the Gaza War

On August 16, 2009, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal stated that the organization is ready to open dialogue with the Obama administration because its policies are much better than those of former U.S. president George W. Bush: “As long as there’s a new language, we welcome it, but we want to see not only a change of language, but also a change of policies on the ground. We have said that we are prepared to cooperate with the US or any other international party that would enable the Palestinians to get rid of occupation.”[267]Despite this, an August 30, 2009 speech during a visit to Jordan[268] in which Mashal expressed support for the Palestinian right of return was interpreted by David Pollock of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy as a sign that “Hamas has now clearly opted out of diplomacy.”[269] In an interview in May 2010, Mashal said that if a Palestinian state with real sovereignty was established under the conditions he set out, on the borders of 1967 with its capital Jerusalem and with the right of return, that will be the end of the Palestinian resistance, and then the nature of any subsequent ties with Israel would be decided democratically by the Palestinians.[270][271] In July 2009, Khaled Mashal, Hamas’s political bureau chief, stated Hamas’s willingness to cooperate with a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, which included a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, provided that Palestinian refugees be given the right to return to Israel and that East Jerusalem be recognized as the new state’s capital.[272]

In 2011, after the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, Hamas distanced itself from the Syrian regime and its members began leaving Syria. Where once there were “hundreds of exiled Palestinian officials and their relatives”, that number shrunk to “a few dozen”.[273] In 2012, Hamas publicly announced its support for the Syrian opposition.[274] This prompted Syrian state TV to issue a “withering attack” on the Hamas leadership.[275] Khaled Mashal said that Hamas had been “forced out” of Damascus because of its disagreements with the Syrian regime.[276] In late October, Syrian Army soldiers shot dead two Hamas leaders in Daraa refugee camp.[277] On November 5, 2012, the Syrian state security forces shut down all Hamas offices in the country.[278] In January 2013, another two Hamas members were found dead in Syria’s Husseinieh camp. Activists said the two had been arrested and executed by state security forces.[279] In 2013, it was reported that the military wing of Hamas had begun training units of the Free Syrian Army.[280] In 2013, after “several intense weeks of indirect three-way diplomacy between representatives of Hamas, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority”, no agreement was reached.[281] Also, intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks stalled and, as a result, during Obama’s visit to Israel, Hamas launched five rocket strikes on Israel.[281] In November, Isra Almodallal was appointed the first spokeswoman of the group.[282]

2014 Israel–Gaza conflict

On 8 July 2014 Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to counter increased Hamas rocket fire from Gaza. The conflict ended with a permanent cease-fire after 7 weeks, and more than 2,200 dead. 64 of the dead were Israeli soldiers, 7 were civilians in Israel (from rocket attacks), and 2,101 were killed in Gaza, of which according to UN OCHA at least 1,460 were civilians. Israel says 1,000 of the dead were militants. Following the conflict, Mahmoud Abbas president of the Palestinian Authority, accused Hamas of needlessly extending the fighting in the Gaza Strip, contributing to the high death toll, of running a “shadow government” in Gaza, and of illegally executing scores of Palestinians.[283][284][285] Hamas has complained about the slow delivery of reconstruction materials after the conflict and announced that they were diverting these materials from civilian uses to build more infiltration tunnels.[286]

Reconciliation attempts

In 2016, Hamas began security co-ordination with Egypt to crack down on Islamic terrorist organizations in Sinai, in return for economic aid.[287]

In May 2017, Hamas unveiled its new charter, in an attempt to moderate its image. The charter no longer calls for Israel’s destruction, but still calls for liberation of Palestine and to ‘confront the Zionist project’. It also confirms acceptance of the 1967 borders as the basis for establishing a Palestinian state as well as not being an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.[288][289]

In October 2017, Fatah and Hamas signed yet another reconciliation agreement. The partial agreement addresses civil and administrative matters involving Gaza and the West Bank. Other contentious issues such as national elections, reform of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and possible demilitarization of Hamas were to be discussed in the next meeting in November 2017, due to a new step-by-step approach.[290]

Media

In 2005, Hamas announced its intention to launch an experimental TV channel, Al-Aqsa TV. The station was launched on January 7, 2006, less than three weeks before the Palestinian legislative elections. It has shown television programs, including some children’s television, which deliver anti-semitic messages.[291] Hamas has stated that the television station is “an independent media institution that often does not express the views of the Palestinian government headed by Ismail Haniyeh or of the Hamas movement,” and that Hamas does not hold anti-semitic views.[292] Hamas produced several propaganda songs aimed to scare Israeli citizen including Shock Israel’s Security and “Go, call a Gazan to rip Giv’ati“.[293]

Children’s magazine

Al-Fateh (“the conqueror”) is the Hamas children’s magazine, published biweekly in London, and also posted in an online website. It began publication in September 2002, and its 108th issue was released in mid-September 2007. The magazine features stories, poems, riddles, and puzzles, and states it is for “the young builders of the future”.[294]

According to MEMRI (three of whose seven founding staff had formerly served in the IDF), the magazine includes incitement to jihad and martyrdom and glorification of terrorist operations and of their planners and perpetrators. as well as characterizations of Jews as “murderers of the prophets” and laudatory descriptions of parents who encourage their sons to kill Jews. In each issue, a regular feature titled “The Story of a Martyr” presents the “heroic deeds” of a mujahid from one of the organizations who died in a suicide operation, including operations against civilians, or who was killed by the IDF. MEMRI also noted that the magazine includes illustrations of figures, including child warriors, who embody the ethos of jihad and martyrdom, presenting them as role models. These include the magazine’s titular character, Al-Fateh (“The Conqueror”) – a small boy on a horse brandishing a drawn scimitar – as well as children carrying guns, and photos of Hamas fighters launching Qassam rockets.[295][296]

Al-Aqsa TV

Al-Aqsa TV is a television channel founded by Hamas.[297] The station began broadcasting in the Gaza Strip on January 9, 2006.[298][299] Its programming includes ideologically tinged children’s shows, news talk, and religiously inspired entertainment.[300] According to the Anti-Defamation League, the station promotes terrorist activity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis.[299] Hamas has stated that the television station is “an independent media institution that often does not express the views of the Palestinian government headed by Ismail Haniyeh or of the Hamas movement,” and that Hamas does not hold anti-semitic views.[292] Al-Aqsa TV is headed by Fathi Ahmad Hammad, chairman of al-Ribat Communications and Artistic Productions – a Hamas-run company that also produces Hamas’s radio station, Voice of al-Aqsa, and its biweekly newspaper, The Message.[301]

Islamization efforts

In the Gaza Strip

The gender ideology outlined in the Hamas charter, the importance of women in the religious-nationalist project of liberation is asserted, while defining that role as one of manufacturing males and caring for their upbringing and rearing. This is not so different from Fatah’s view of women in the First Intifada and it also resembles the outlook of Jewish settlers, and over time it has been subjected to change.[302][303]

In 1989, during the First Intifada, a small number of Hamas followers[304] campaigned for the wearing of the hijab, which is not a part of traditional women’s attire in Palestine,[305] for polygamy, and also insisted women stay at home and be segregated from men. In the course of this campaign, women who chose not to wear the hijab were verbally and physically harassed, with the result that the hijab was being worn ‘just to avoid problems on the streets’.[306] The harassment dropped drastically when, after 18 months UNLU condemned it,[307] though similar campaigns reoccurred.

Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, some of its members have attempted to impose Islamic dress or the hijab head covering on women.[177][308] Also, the government’s “Islamic Endowment Ministry” has deployed Virtue Committee members to warn citizens of the dangers of immodest dress, card playing, and dating.[309] However, there are no government laws imposing dress and other moral standards, and the Hamas education ministry reversed one effort to impose Islamic dress on students.[177] There has also been successful resistance to attempts by local Hamas officials to impose Islamic dress on women.[310]

Hamas officials deny having any plans to impose Islamic law, one legislator stating that “What you are seeing are incidents, not policy,” and that Islamic law is the desired standard “but we believe in persuasion”.[309] The Hamas education ministry reversed one effort to impose Islamic dress on students.[177] When the BBC in 2010 interviewed five “middle-class” women in Gaza City, the subjects generally indicated Hamas attempts to enforce conservative religious standards of dress had been largely rejected by the local population, with some expressing concern that the closure of Gaza would allow the proliferation of extremist enforcement attempts by low-level Hamas officials, and others indicating they were happy to see Hamas enforcing such requirements. They also cited examples of leniency by Hamas authorities, such as allowing widowed women to keep custody of their children so long as they did not remarry, and other relaxations in the enforcement of Shariah law. One woman noted that the environment was “not as bad” as during the First Intifada, when women were subject to public criticism and stonings for failure to obey conservative Islamic standards of dress. One woman complained that women were not free to speak their minds or travel alone, and added: “Hamas want to force themselves onto the people. They want the people to submit to them, this is their cover. They destroyed the reputation of Islam, by saying we’re doing this because it is religion. This is how they won the elections.”[311]

In 2013, UNRWA canceled its annual marathon in Gaza after Hamas rulers prohibited women from participating in the race.[312]

In the West Bank

In 2005, the human rights organization Freemuse released a report titled “Palestine: Taliban-like attempts to censor music”, which said that Palestinian musicians feared that harsh religious laws against music and concerts will be imposed since Hamas group scored political gains in the Palestinian Authority local elections of 2005.[313]

The attempt by Hamas to dictate a cultural code of conduct in the 1980s and early 1990s led to a violent fighting between different Palestinian sectors. Hamas members reportedly burned down stores that stocked videos they deemed indecent and destroyed books they described as “heretical”.[314]

In 2005, an outdoor music and dance performance in Qalqiliya were suddenly banned by the Hamas led municipality, for the reason that such an event would be forbidden by Islam, or “Haram“.[315] The municipality also ordered that music no longer be played in the Qalqiliya zoo, and mufti Akrameh Sabri issued a religious edict affirming the municipality decision.[314] In response, the Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish warned that “There are Taliban-type elements in our society, and this is a very dangerous sign.”[313][314][316][317]

The Palestinian columnist Mohammed Abd Al-Hamid, a resident of Ramallah, wrote that this religious coercion could cause the migration of artists, and said “The religious fanatics in Algeria destroyed every cultural symbol, shattered statues and rare works of art and liquidated intellectuals and artists, reporters and authors, ballet dancers and singers – are we going to imitate the Algerian and Afghani examples?”[314]

Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey as a role model

Some Hamas members stated that the model of Islamic government that Hamas seeks to emulate is that of Turkey under the rule of Tayyip Erdoğan. The foremost members to distance Hamas from the practices of Taliban and to publicly support the Erdoğan model were Ahmad Yousef and Ghazi Hamad, advisers to Prime Minister Hanieh.[318][319] Yusuf, the Hamas deputy foreign minister, reflected this goal in an interview to a Turkish newspaper, stating that while foreign public opinion equates Hamas with the Taliban or al-Qaeda, the analogy is inaccurate. Yusuf described the Taliban as “opposed to everything,” including education and women’s rights, while Hamas wants to establish good relations between the religious and secular elements of society and strives for human rights, democracy and an open society.[320] According to professor Yezid Sayigh of the King’s College in London, how influential this view is within Hamas is uncertain, since both Ahmad Yousef and Ghazi Hamad were dismissed from their posts as advisers to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniehin October 2007.[318] Both have since been appointed to other prominent positions within the Hamas government. Khaled al-Hroub of the West Bank-based and anti-Hamas[321] Palestinian daily Al Ayyam added that despite claims by Hamas leaders that it wants to repeat the Turkish model of Islam, “what is happening on the ground in reality is a replica of the Taliban model of Islam.”[322]

Antisemitism and anti-Zionism

According to academic Esther Webman, antisemitism is not the main tenet of Hamas ideology, although antisemitic rhetoric is frequent and intense in Hamas leaflets. The leaflets generally do not differentiate between Jews and Zionists. In other Hamas publications and interviews with its leaders, attempts at this differentiation have been made.[323] In 2009 representatives of the small Jewish sect Neturei Karta met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, who stated that he held nothing against Jews but only against the state of Israel.[324] Some commentators have pointed out parallels between Hamas’s youth organization and Hitler Youth.[325] According to writer Tom Doran, Hamas is not recognized as a neo-Nazi group because its members are not “white Christians”.[326]

Hamas has made conflicting statements about its readiness to recognize Israel. In 2006 a spokesman signaled readiness to recognize Israel within the 1967 borders. Speaking of requests for Hamas to recognize agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, senior Hamas member Khaled Suleiman said that “these agreements are a reality which we view as such, and therefore I see no problem.”[327] Also in 2006, a Hamas official ruled out recognition of Israel with reference to West and East Germany, which never recognized each other.[328]

Hamas Charter (1988)

  • Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant provides the following quotation, attributed to Muhammad:

The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree (evidently a certain kind of tree), would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.[148]

You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.[329]

Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.[148]

Statements by Hamas members and clerics to an Arab audience

In 2008, Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas said in his sermon at the Katib Wilayat mosque in Gaza that “Jews are a people who cannot be trusted. They have been traitors to all agreements. Go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing.”[175][330]

Another Hamas legislator and imam, Sheik Yunus al-Astal, discussed a Koranic verse suggesting that “suffering by fire is the Jews’ destiny in this world and the next.” He concluded “Therefore we are sure that the Holocaust is still to come upon the Jews.”[175][330]

Following the rededication of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem in March 2010, senior Hamas figure al-Zahar called on Palestinians everywhere to observe five minutes of silence “for Israel’s disappearance and to identify with Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa mosque”. He further stated that “Wherever you have been you’ve been sent to your destruction. You’ve killed and murdered your prophets and you have always dealt in loan-sharking and destruction. You’ve made a deal with the devil and with destruction itself – just like your synagogue.”[331][332]

On August 10, 2012, Ahmad Bahr, Deputy Speaker of the Hamas Parliament, stated in a sermon that aired on Al-Aqsa TV:

If the enemy sets foot on a single square inch of Islamic land, Jihad becomes an individual duty, incumbent on every Muslim, male or female. A woman may set out [on Jihad] without her husband’s permission, and a servant without his master’s permission. Why? In order to annihilate those Jews. … O Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. O Allah, destroy the Americans and their supporters. O Allah, count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one.[333][334][335][336]

In an interview with Al-Aqsa TV on September 12, 2012, Marwan Abu Ras, a Hamas MP, who is also a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, stated (as translated by MEMRI):

The Jews are behind each and every catastrophe on the face of the Earth. This is not open to debate. This is not a temporal thing, but goes back to days of yore. They concocted so many conspiracies and betrayed rulers and nations so many times that the people harbor hatred towards them. … Throughout history – from Nebuchadnezzar until modern times. … They slayed the prophets, and so on. … Any catastrophe on the face of this Earth – the Jews must be behind it.[337]

On December 26, 2012, Senior Hamas official and Jerusalem bureau chief Ahmed Abu Haliba, called on “all Palestinian factions to resume suicide attacks … deep inside the Zionist enemy” and said that “we must renew the resistance to occupation in any possible way, above all through armed resistance.” Abu Haliba suggested the use of suicide bombings as a response to Israel’s plans to build housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.[338]

In an interview on Lebanese television on July 28, 2014, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan repeated the blood libel myth:

We all remember how the Jews used to slaughter Christians, in order to mix their blood in their holy matzos… It happened everywhere.[339]

Statements by Hamas members and clerics to an international audience

In an interview with CBS This Morning on July 27, 2014, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal stated:

We are not fanatics. We are not fundamentalists. We are not actually fighting the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers.[340]

On January 8, 2012, during a visit to Tunis, Gazan Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh told The Associated Press on that he disagrees with the anti-Semitic slogans. “We are not against the Jews because they are Jews. Our problem is with those occupying the land of Palestine,” he said. “There are Jews all over the world, but Hamas does not target them.”[341] In response to a statement by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas that Hamas preferred non-violent means and had agreed to adopt “peaceful resistance,” Hamas contradicted Abbas. According to Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri, “We had agreed to give popular resistance precedence in the West Bank, but this does not come at the expense of armed resistance.”[342]

In May 2009, senior Hamas MP Sayed Abu Musameh said, “in our culture, we respect every foreigner, especially Jews and Christians, but we are against Zionists, not as nationalists but as fascists and racists.”[343] In the same interview, he also said, “I hate all kinds of weapons. I dream of seeing every weapon from the atomic bomb to small guns banned everywhere.” In January 2009, Gazan Hamas Health Minister Basim Naim published a letter in The Guardian, stating that Hamas has no quarrel with Jewish people, only with the actions of Israel.[344] In October 1994, in a response to Isreael’s crackdown on Hamas militants following a suicide bombing on a Tel Aviv bus, Hamas promised retaliation: “Rabin must know that Hamas loves death more than Rabin and his soldiers love life.”[345]

Statements on the Holocaust

Hamas has been explicit in its Holocaust denial. In reaction to the Stockholm conference on the Jewish Holocaust, held in late January 2000, Hamas issued a press release that it published on its official website, containing the following statements from a senior leader:

This conference bears a clear Zionist goal, aimed at forging history by hiding the truth about the so-called Holocaust, which is an alleged and invented story with no basis. (…) The invention of these grand illusions of an alleged crime that never occurred, ignoring the millions of dead European victims of Nazism during the war, clearly reveals the racist Zionist face, which believes in the superiority of the Jewish race over the rest of the nations. (…) By these methods, the Jews in the world flout scientific methods of research whenever that research contradicts their racist interests.[346]

In August 2003, senior Hamas official Dr Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi wrote in the Hamas newspaper Al-Risala that the Zionists encouraged murder of Jews by the Nazis with the aim of forcing them to immigrate to Palestine.[347]

In 2005, Khaled Mashal called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s December 14, 2005 statements on the Holocaust that Europeans had “created a myth in the name of Holocaust”[348]) as “courageous”.[349] Later in 2008, Basim Naim, the minister of health in the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government in Gaza countered holocaust denial, and said “it should be made clear that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian government in Gaza denies the Nazi Holocaust. The Holocaust was not only a crime against humanity but one of the most abhorrent crimes in modern history. We condemn it as we condemn every abuse of humanity and all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender or nationality.”[350]

In an open letter to Gaza Strip UNRWA chief John Ging published August 20, 2009, the movement’s Popular Committees for Refugees called the Holocaust “a lie invented by the Zionists,” adding that the group refused to let Gazan children study it.[351] Hamas leader Younis al-Astal continued by saying that having the Holocaust included in the UNRWA curriculum for Gaza students amounted to “marketing a lie and spreading it”. Al-Astal continued “I do not exaggerate when I say this issue is a war crime, because of how it serves the Zionist colonizers and deals with their hypocrisy and lies.”[352][353]

In February 2011, Hamas voiced opposition to UNRWA’s teaching of the Holocaust in Gaza. According to Hamas, “Holocaust studies in refugee camps is a contemptible plot and serves the Zionist entity with a goal of creating a reality and telling stories in order to justify acts of slaughter against the Palestinian people.”[354][355] In July 2012, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, denounced a visit by Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, to the Auschwitz death camp, saying it was “unjustified” and “unhelpful” and only served the “Zionist occupation” while coming “at the expense of a real Palestinian tragedy”. He also called the Holocaust an “alleged tragedy” and “exaggerated”.[356][357][358][359] In October 2012, Hamas said that they were opposed to teaching about the Holocaust in Gaza Strip schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency. The Refugee Affairs Department of Hamas said that teaching the Holocaust was a “crime against the issue of the refugees that is aimed at canceling their right of return”.[360]

Violence and terrorism

Hamas has used both political activities and violence in pursuit of its goals. For example, while politically engaged in the 2006 Palestinian Territories parliamentary election campaign, Hamas stated in its election manifesto that it was prepared to use “armed resistance to end the occupation”.[361]

From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killing nearly 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2001 through May 2008, Hamas launched more than 3,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortar attacks into Israel.[362]

Attacks on civilians

In the first years of the First Intifada (1987–1993), Hamas violence was directed first at collaborators with Israel and at individuals it considered moral deviants, and then later at the Israeli military.[363] A new direction began with the formation of the al-Qassam Brigades militia in 1992, and in 1993 suicide attacks began against Israeli targets on the West Bank.[364]

Aftermath of 1996 Jaffa Road bus bombings in which 26 people were killed

The first such attack occurred on April 16, 1993, when an al-Qassam Brigades operative detonated explosives in a car he parked next to two buses, one military and one civilian, in the West Bank town of Mehola, killing a Palestinian civilian and wounding 8 Israeli soldiers.[365] After the February 1994 massacre by Baruch Goldstein of 30 Muslim civilians in a Hebron mosque, the al-Qassam Brigades expanded suicide attacks to target primarily civilians.[180] The first of the suicide bombings that targeted civilians was at Afula on April 16, 1994, when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car next to a bus, killing nine (including the bomber) and wounding 50. The most deadly suicide bombing was an attack on a Netanya hotel on March 27, 2002, in which 30 people were killed and 140 were wounded. The attack has also been referred to as the Passover massacre since it took place on the first night of the Jewish festival of Passover at a Seder.

Hamas has defended suicide attacks as a legitimate aspect of its asymmetric warfare against Israel. In 2003, according to Stephen Atkins, Hamas resumed suicide bombings in Israel as a retaliatory measure after the failure of peace talks and an Israeli campaign targeting members of the upper echelon of the Hamas leadership.[35] but they are considered as crimes against humanity under international law.[366][367] In a 2002 report, Human Rights Watchstated that Hamas leaders “should be held accountable” for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed by the al-Qassam Brigades.[368][369][370]

In May 2006 Israel arrested a top Hamas official, Ibrahim Hamed, who Israeli security officials alleged was responsible for dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks on Israelis.[371] Hamed’s trial on those charges has not yet concluded.[372] In 2008, Hamas explosives engineer Shihab al-Natsheh organized a deadly suicide bombing in Dimona.[373][374]

Since 2002, paramilitary soldiers of al-Qassam Brigades and other groups have used homemade Qassam rockets to hit Israeli towns in the Negev, such as Sderot. Al-Qassam Brigades was estimated in 2007 to have launched 22% of the rocket and mortar attacks,[375] which killed fifteen people between the years 2000 and 2009 (see Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel).[376] The introduction of the Qassam-2 rocket in 2008 enabled Palestinian paramilitary groups to reach, from Gaza, such Israeli cities such as Ashkelon.[377]

In 2008, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, offered that Hamas would attack only military targets if the IDF would stop causing the deaths of Palestinian civilians.[378] Following a June 19, 2008 ceasefire, the al-Qassam Brigades ended its rocket attacks and arrested Fatah militants in Gaza who had continued sporadic rocket and mortar attacks against Israel. The al-Qassam Brigades resumed the attacks after the November 4 Israeli incursion into Gaza.[240][379]

On 15 June 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of involvement in the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers (including one who held American citizenship), saying “This has severe repercussions.”[380]On 20 July 2014, nearly two weeks into Operation Protective Edge, Netanyahu in an interview with CNN described Hamas as “genocidal terrorists.”[381]

On 5 August 2014 Israel announced that Israeli security forces arrested Hussam Kawasme, in Shuafat, in connection with the murders.[382] During interrogation, Kawasme admitted to being the mastermind behind the attack, in addition to securing the funding from Hamas.[383] Officials have stated that additional people arrested in connection with the murders are still being held, but no names have been released.[384]

On 20 August, Saleh al-Arouri, a Hamas leader in exile in Turkey, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens. He delivered an address on behalf of Khaled Mashal at the conference of the International Union of Muslim Scholars in Istanbul, a move that might reflect a desire by Hamas to gain leverage.[385] In it he said: “Our goal was to ignite an intifada in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as within the 1948 borders. … Your brothers in the Al-Qassam Brigades carried out this operation to support their imprisoned brothers, who were on a hunger strike. … The mujahideen captured these settlers in order to have a swap deal.”[386] Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal accepted that members of Hamas were responsible, stating that he knew nothing of it in advance and that what the leadership knew of the details came from reading Israeli reports.[387] Meshaal, who has headed Hamas’s exiled political wing since 2004, has denied being involved in the “details” of Hamas “military issues”, but “justified the killings as a legitimate action against Israelis on “occupied” lands.”[388]

Hamas suicide attacks on Israeli civilians have largely disappeared since 2005; this has coincided with an increase in rocket attacks. One analysis suggests that the decline in suicide attacks is not motivated by any lack of supplies or volunteers to carry out such operations, by enhanced Israeli security measures such as the West Bank barrier (if Israeli actions were the reason, one would expect to see an equal decline in suicide attacks by all Palestinian factions, which is not observed), or by a newfound desire for reconciliation with Israel on the part of Hamas. Rather, suicide bombings provoked targeted killings that decimated the leadership of Hamas, whereas rocket attacks have elicited weaker Israeli reprisals that have tended to harm the Palestinian population as a whole more than Hamas (such as the blockade of the Gaza Strip) – thereby paradoxically increasing Hamas’s popular support.[389]

Rocket attacks on Israel

Rocket attacks by Hamas have been condemned by Human rights organizations as war crimes, both because they usually take aim at civilians and because the weapons’ inaccuracy would disproportionately endanger civilians even if military targets were chosen. After Operation Pillar of Defense, Human Rights Watch stated that armed Palestinian groups fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities, violating international humanitarian law, and that statements by Palestinian groups that they deliberately targeted Israeli civilians demonstrated an “intent to commit war crimes”. HRW’s Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said that Palestinian groups made clear that “harming civilians was their aim” and said that launching rockets at populated areas had no legal justification. International humanitarian law prohibits deliberate attacks on civilians and intentional violations can be war crimes.[390]

According to Human Rights Watch, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have launched thousands of rockets into Israel since 2001, killing 15 civilians, wounding many more, and posing an ongoing threat to the nearly 800,000 Israeli civilians who live and work in the weapons’ range. Hamas officials have said that the rockets were aimed only at military targets, saying that civilian casualties were the “accidental result” of the weapons’ poor quality. According to Human Rights Watch, statements by Hamas leaders suggest that the purpose of the rocket attacks was indeed to strike civilians and civilian objects. From January 2009, following Operation Cast Lead, Hamas largely stopped launching rocket attacks on Israel and has on at least two occasions arrested members of other groups who have launched rockets, “showing that it has the ability to impose the law when it wants”.[391] In February 2010, Hamas issued a statement regretting any harm that may have befallen Israeli civilians as a result of Palestinian rocket attacks during the Gaza war. It maintained that its rocket attacks had been aimed at Israeli military targets but lacked accuracy and hence sometimes hit civilian areas. Israel responded that Hamas had boasted repeatedly of targeting and murdering civilians in the media.[392]

According to one report, commenting on the 2014 conflict, “nearly all the 2,500–3,000 rockets and mortars Hamas has fired at Israel since the start of the war seem to have been aimed at towns”, including an attack on “a kibbutz collective farm close to the Gaza border”, in which an Israeli child was killed.[393] Former Israeli Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi stated that “Hamas has expressed pride in aiming long-range rockets at strategic targets in Israel including the nuclear reactor in Dimona, the chemical plants in Haifa, and Ben-Gurion Airport”, which “could have caused thousands” of Israeli casualties “if successful”.[394]

In July 2008 Barack Obama, then the Democratic presidential candidate, said: “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”[395] On December 28, 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement: “the United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”[396] On March 2, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks.[397]

Attempts to derail 2010 peace talks

In 2010, Hamas, who have been actively sidelined from the peace talks by Israel, spearheaded a coordinated effort by 13 Palestinian militant groups, in attempt to derail the stalled peace talks between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority. According to the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Major Gen. Eitan Dangot, Israel seeks to work with Salam Fayyad, to help revive the Palestinian economy, and hopes to ease restrictions on the Gaza Strip further, “while somehow preventing the Islamic militants who rule it from getting credit for any progress”. According to Dangot, Hamas must not be seen as ruling successfully or be allowed to “get credit for a policy that would improve the lives of people”.[398] The campaign consists of attacks against Israelis in which, according to a Hamas declaration in early September, “all options are open”.[399][400][401][402] The participating groups also include Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and an unnamed splinter group of Fatah.[403]

As part of the campaign, on August 31, 2010, 4 Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman, were killed by Hamas militants while driving on Route 60 near the settlement Kiryat Arba, in the West bank. According to witnesses, militants opened fire on the moving vehicle, but then “approached the car” and shot the occupants in their seats at “close range”. The attack was described by Israeli sources as one of the “worst” terrorist acts in years.[404][405][406] A senior Hamas official said that Israeli settlers in the West Bank are legitimate targets since “they are an army in every sense of the word”.[407][408]

Themes of martyrdom

According to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch, in 2008, Fathi Hamad, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, stated on Al-Aqsa TV, “For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly (Palestinians) created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘We desire death as you desire life.'”[409]

In 2010, Hamas speaker Ahmad Bahr praised the virtues of martyrdom and Jihad, and said that 2.5 million black-eyed virgins were waiting in the Garden of Eden, which could be entered only by prophets, by the righteous, and by martyrs. He continued by saying that nobody on Earth “will be able to confront the resistance, or to confront the mujahideen, those who worship Allah and seek martyrdom”.[410]

Guerrilla warfare

Hamas anti-tank rockets, captured by Israel Defense Forces during Operation Protective Edge

Hamas has made great use of guerrilla tactics in the Gaza Strip and to a lesser degree the West Bank.[411] It has successfully adapted these techniques over the years since its inception. According to a 2006 report by rival Fatah party, Hamas had smuggled between several hundred and 1,300 tons of advanced rockets, along with other weaponry, into Gaza.[411]

Hamas has used IEDs and anti-tank rockets against the IDF in Gaza. The latter include standard RPG-7 warheads and home-made rockets such as the Al-Bana, Al-Batar and Al-Yasin. The IDF has a difficult, if not impossible time trying to find hidden weapons caches in Palestinian areas – this is due to the high local support base Hamas enjoys.[412]

Extrajudicial killings of rivals

In addition to killing Israeli civilians and armed forces, Hamas has also murdered suspected Palestinian Israel collaborators and Fatah rivals.[413] Hundreds of Palestinians were executed by both Hamas and Fatah during the First Intifada.[414] In the wake of the 2006 Israeli conflict with Gaza, Hamas was accused of systematically rounding up, torturing and summarily executing Fatah supporters suspected of supplying information to Israel. Human Rights Watch estimates several hundred Gazans were “maimed” and tortured in the aftermath of the conflict. Seventy-three Gazan men accused of “collaborating” had their arms and legs broken by “unidentified perpetrators” and 18 Palestinians accused of helping Israel were executed by Hamas security officials in the first days of the conflict.[233][234][415] In November 2012, Hamas’s Izzedine al-Qassam brigade publicly executed six Gaza residents accused of collaborating with Israel. According to the witnesses, six alleged informers were shot dead one by one in Gaza City, while the corpse of the sixth victim was tied by a cable to the back of a motorcycle and dragged through the streets.[416] In 2013, Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning Hamas for not investigating and giving a proper trial to the 6 men. Their statement was released the day before Hamas issued a deadline for “collaborators” to turn themselves in, or they will be pursued “without mercy”.[417] In August 2014, during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, at least 22 accused collaborators were executed by Hamas shortly after three of its commanders were assassinated by Israeli forces.[418] An Israeli source denied that any of the commanders had been targeted on the basis of human intelligence.[419]

Frequent killings of unarmed people have also occurred during Hamas-Fatah clashes.[420][421] NGOs have cited a number of summary executions as particular examples of violations of the rules of warfare, including the case of Muhammad Swairki, 28, a cook for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s presidential guard, who was thrown to his death, with his hands and legs tied, from a 15-story apartment building in Gaza City.[422] Hamas security forces reportedly shoot and torture Palestinians who opposed Hamas rule in Gaza.[233] In one case, a Palestinian had criticized Hamas in a conversation on the street with some friends. Later that day, more than a dozen armed men with black masks and red kaffiyeh took the man from his home, and brought him to a solitary area where they shot him three times in the lower legs and ankles. The man told Human Rights Watch that he was not politically active.[233]

On August 14, 2009, Hamas fighters stormed the Mosque of cleric Abdel-Latif Moussa.[423] The cleric was protected by at least 100 fighters from Jund Ansar Allah (“Army of the Helpers of God”), an Islamist group with links to Al-Qaeda. The resulting battle left at least 13 people dead, including Moussa and 6 Hamas fighters, and 120 people injured.[424] According to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, during 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, Hamas killed more than 120 Palestinian youths for defying house arrest imposed on them by Hamas, in addition to 30–40 Palestinians killed by Hamas in extrajudicial executions after accusing them of being collaborators with Israel.[425] Referring to the killing of suspected collaborators, a Shin Bet official stated that “not even one” of those executed by Hamas provided any intelligence to Israel, while the Shin Bet officially “confirmed that those executed during Operation Protective Edge had all been held in prison in Gaza in the course of the hostilities”.[419]

2011–2013 Sinai insurgency

Hamas has been accused of providing weapons, training and fighters for Sinai-based insurgent attacks,[426][427] although Hamas strongly denies the allegations, calling them a smear campaign aiming to harm relations with Egypt.[426] According to the Egyptian Army, since the ouster of Egypt’s Muslim-Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, over 600 Hamas members have entered the Sinai Peninsula through smuggling tunnels.[428] In addition, several weapons used in Sinai’s insurgent attacks are being traced back to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to the army.[428] The four leading insurgent groups in the Sinai have all reportedly maintained close ties with the Gaza Strip.[429] Hamas is also accused of helping Morsi and other high-ranking Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members break out of the Wadi Natroun prison in Cairo during the 2011 revolution.[430] Hamas called the accusation a “dangerous development”.[431] Egyptian authorities stated that the 2011 Alexandria bombing was carried out by the Gaza-based Army of Islam, which has received sanctuary from Hamas and earlier collaborated in the capture of Gilad Shalit.[429][432][433][434] Army of Islam members linked to the August 2012 Sinai attack have reportedly sought refuge in the Gaza Strip.[429] Egypt stated that Hamas directly provided logistical support to the Muslim Brotherhood militants who carried out the December 2013 Mansoura bombing.[435]

International designations as a terrorist organization

Hamas, together with several charities it runs,[436] has been designated by several governments and some academics as a terrorist organization. Others regard Hamas as a complex organization with terrorism as only one component.[437][438] Israel outlawed Hamas in September 1989[439] The United States followed suit in 1995, as did Canada in November 2002.[440] The European Union outlawed Hamas’s military wing in 2001 and included Hamas in its list of terrorist organizations in 2003,[441] which Hamas successfully challenged in the courts,[442] and continued to do so under American and Israeli pressure.[443] The basis of Hamas’s challenge to the EU classification in 2007 was that it was drawn up on the basis of media reports, rather than grounded in any analysis of Hamas’s history. In July 2017, the European Court of Justice overruled this challenge, citing that the evidence of media reports was only used for keeping Hamas on the list, rather than to add it to the list in the first place.[444]

The European General Court found in favour of Hamas in 2014, though the verdict was appealed by the EU countries. In September 2016 a legal advisor to the European Court of Justice, Eleanor Sharpston, provided an advisory opinion, in favour of cancelling the listing of Hamas as a terrorist organization. She argued that the determination originally adopted was flawed, and that the EU cannot “rely on facts and evidence found in press articles and information from the internet” in order to list organizations as terrorists.[445] Egypt,[446]Saudi Arabia,[447] Japan,[448] New Zealand,[449] Australia and the United Kingdom[450] have designated the military wing of Hamas as a terrorist organization.[451] The organization is banned in Jordan.[452] It is not regarded as a terrorist organization by Iran,[453]Russia,[454] Norway,[455] Switzerland,[456] Turkey, China,[457] and Brazil.[458]

Criticism

Human shields

A Hamas rocket launch site and its civilian surroundings.

After Operation Pillar of Defense, Human Rights Watch stated that Palestinian groups had endangered civilians by “repeatedly fired rockets from densely populated areas, near homes, businesses, and a hotel” and noted that under international law, parties to a conflict may not to place military targets in or near densely populated areas. One rocket was launched close to the Shawa and Housari Building, where various Palestinian and international media have offices; another was fired from the yard of a house near the Deira Hotel.[390][459] The New York Times journalist Steven Erlanger reported that “Hamas rocket and weapons caches, including rocket launchers, have been discovered in and under mosques, schools and civilian homes.”[460] Another report published by Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center revealed that Hamas used close to 100 mosques to store weapons and as launch-pads to shoot rockets. The report contains testimony from variety Palestinian sources, including a Hamas militant Sabhi Majad Atar, who said he was taught how to shoot rockets from inside a mosque.[461] Hamas has also been criticized by Israeli officials for blending into or hiding among the Palestinian civilian population During the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict.[462] The Israeli government published what it said was video evidence of human shield tactics by Hamas.[463] Israel said that Hamas frequently used mosques and school yards[464] as hideouts and places to store weapons,[465][466] and that Hamas militants stored weapons in their homes, making it difficult to ensure that civilians close to legitimate military targets are not hurt during Israeli military operations.[467] Israeli officials also accused the Hamas leadership of hiding under Shifa Hospital during the conflict, using the patients inside to deter an Israeli attack.[460][468]

The Israeli government filed a report entitled “Gaza Operations Investigation: Second Update” to the United Nations accusing Hamas of exploiting its rules of engagement by shooting rockets and launching attacks within protected civilian areas.[469][470][471] Israel says 12,000 rockets and mortars were fired at it between 2000 and 2008 – nearly 3,000 in 2008 alone.[472] In one case, an errant Israeli mortar strike killed dozens of people near a UN school. Hamas said that the mortar killed 42 people and left dozens wounded. Israel said that Hamas militants had launched a rocket from a yard adjacent to the school and one mortar of three rounds hit the school, due to a GPS error. According to the Israeli military probe, the remaining two rounds hit the yard used to launch rockets into Israel, killing two members of Hamas’s military wing who fired the rockets.[473] Human Right Watch called Hamas to “publicly renounce” the rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and hold those responsible to account. Human Right Watch program director Iain Levine said the attacks by Hamas were “unlawful and unjustifiable, and amount to war crimes”, and accused Hamas of putting Palestinians at risk by launching attacks from built-up areas.[472] Hamas spokesman relied that the report was “biased” and he denied that Hamas uses human shields.[472]

Human Rights Watch investigated 19 incidents involving 53 civilian deaths in Gaza that Israel said were the result of Hamas fighting in densely populated areas and did not find evidence for existence of Palestinian fighters in the areas at the time of the Israeli attack. In other cases where no civilians had died, the report concluded that Hamas may have deliberately fired rockets from areas close to civilians.[474] HRW also investigated 11 deaths that Israel said were civilians being used as human shields by Hamas. HRW found no evidence that the civilians were used as human shields, nor had they been shot in crossfire.[475] The Israeli ‘human shields’ charge against Hamas was called “full of holes” by The National (UAE), which stated that only Israel accused Hamas of using human shields during the conflict, though Hamas “may be guilty” of “locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas” and for “deliberately firing indiscriminate weapons into civilian populated areas”.[476]

On July 8, 2014, Hamas’s spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri encouraged the “policy of people confronting the Israeli warplanes with their bare chests in order to protect their homes”, saying it has proven itself.[477] Israeli soldiers recounted “Suddenly, a small boy appeared, and the terrorist grabbed him and escaped with him”;[478] “I saw with my own eyes someone using another person, a woman, as a shield. … And I can see very clearly that the woman doesn’t want to be there and he’s pulling her with him”;[479] and “We even found explosives in nurseries. The whole neighborhood was practically a terrorist base.”[480]

Israel has accused Hamas of using children as human shields. The Israeli government released video footage in which it claims two militants are shown grabbing a young boy’s arm from behind holding him to walk in front of them toward a group of people waiting near a wall. The IDF argues the militants were placing the boy between themselves and an Israeli sniper. The second scene shows an individual, described as a terrorist, grabbing a school boy off of a floor, where he is hiding behind a column from IDF fire, and using him as a human shield to walk to a different location.[481] After 15 alleged militants sought refuge in a mosque from Israeli forces, the BBC reported that Hamas radio instructed local women to go the mosque to protect the militants. Israeli forces later opened fire and killed two women.[482]

In November 2006, the Israeli Air Force warned Muhammad Weil Baroud, commander of the Popular Resistance Committees who are accused of launching rockets into Israeli territory, to evacuate his home in a Jabalya refugee camp apartment block in advance of a planned Israeli air strike. Baroud responded by calling for volunteers to protect the apartment block and nearby buildings and, according to The Jerusalem Post, hundreds of local residents, mostly women and children, responded. Israel suspended the air strike. Israel termed the action an example of Hamas using human shields.[483] In response to the incident, Hamas proclaimed: ‘We won. From now on we will form human chains around every house threatened with demolition.'”[484] In a November 22 press release, Human Rights Watch condemned Hamas, stating: “There is no excuse for calling civilians to the scene of a planned attack. Whether or not the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to stand in harm’s way is unlawful.”[485] Following criticism, Human rights Watch issued a statement saying that their initial assessment of the situation was in error. They stated that, on the basis of available evidence, the home demolition was in fact an administrative act, viewed in the context of Israel’s longstanding policy of punitive home demolitions, not a military act and thus would not fall within the purview of the law regulating hostilities during armed conflict, which had been the basis for their initial criticism of Hamas.[482]

When the UN-sponsored Goldstone Commission Report on the Gaza War was commissioned in 2009, it stated that it “found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from attack” though they deemed credible reports that Palestinian militants were “not always dressed in a way that distinguished them from civilians”.[486] Hamas MP Fathi Hamed stated that “For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel…the elderly excel at this…and so do the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children.”[487] Following the release of the Goldstone Report, the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan Col. Richard Kemp was invited to testify at the UN Human Rights Council 12th Special Session that during Operation Cast Lead Israel encountered an “enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population”.[488][489][490]

Children as combatants

The Israeli government released a video compiled mostly from Arab news sources showing Palestinian children under the age of 15 going through military training and carrying and firing arms. The video’s narration explains that Hamas indoctrinates these child combatants and that Hamas operators send the children “on missions from which they would not risk their own lives”. According to the Israeli government, the children are used as spotters, to transport explosives and weapons, sent to play in areas to deter Israeli attacks and are sent unknowingly with explosive devices in their schoolbags to be blown up in the vicinity of Israelis.[491] The United Nations defines the use of children for military purposes as a war crime and a form of slavery. See Military use of children.

Although Hamas admits to sponsoring summer schools to train teenagers in handling weapons they condemn attacks by children. Following the deaths of three teenagers during a 2002 attack on Netzarim in central Gaza, Hamas banned attacks by children and “called on the teachers and religious leaders to spread the message of restraint among young boys”.[492][493] Hamas’s use of child labor to build tunnels with which to attack Israel has also been criticized, with at least 160 children killed in the tunnels as of 2012.[494]

Political freedoms

Hamas mural in the West Bank

Human rights groups and Gazans have accused the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip of restricting freedom of the press and forcefully suppressing dissent. Both foreign and Palestinian journalists report harassment and other measures taken against them.[495][496] In September 2007 the Gaza Interior Ministry disbanded the Gaza Strip branch of the pro-Fatah Union of Palestinian Journalists, a move criticized by Reporters without borders.[497] In November of that year the Hamas government arrested a British journalist and for a time canceled all press cards in Gaza.[498][499] On February 8, 2008, Hamas banned distribution of the pro-Fatah Al-Ayyam newspaper, and closed its offices in the Gaza Strip because it ran a caricature that mocked legislators loyal to Hamas.[500][501] The Gaza Strip Interior Ministry later issued an arrest warrant for the editor.[502]

More widely, in late August 2007 the group was accused in The Telegraph, a conservative British newspaper, of torturing, detaining, and firing on unarmed protesters who had objected to policies of the Hamas government.[503] Also in late August, Palestinian health officials reported that the Hamas government had been shutting down Gaza clinics in retaliation for doctor strikes – The Hamas government confirmed the “punitive measure against doctors” because, in its view, they had incited other doctors to suspend services and go out on strike.[504] In September 2007 the Hamas government banned public prayers, after Fatah supporters began holding worship sessions that quickly escalated into raucous protests against Hamas rule. Government security forces beat several gathering supporters and journalists.[505] In October 2008, the Hamas government announced it would release all political prisoners in custody in Gaza. Several hours after the announcement, 17 Fatah members were released.[506]

On August 2, 2012, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) accused Hamas of harassing elected officials belong to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) in Gaza. The IFJ said that journalists’ leaders in Gaza have faced a campaign of intimidation, as well as threats designed to force them to stop their union work. Some of these journalists are now facing charges of illegal activities and a travel ban, due to their refusal “to give in to pressure”. The IFJ said that these accusations are “malicious” and “should be dropped immediately”. The IFJ explained that the campaign against PJS members began in March 2012, after their election, and included a raid organized by Hamas supporters who took over the PJS offices in Gaza with the help of the security forces, and subsequently evicted the staff and elected officials. Other harassment includes the targeting of individuals who were bullied into stopping union work. The IFJ backed the PJS and called on Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to intervene to stop “his officials’ unwarranted interference in journalists’ affairs”.[507] In November 2012, two Gazan journalists were prevented from leaving Gaza by Hamas. There were scheduled to participate in a conference in Cairo, Egypt. After being questioned by security forces, their passports were confiscated.[508] In 2016 Reporters Without Borders condemned Hamas for censorship and for torturing journalists. Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said “As living conditions in the Gaza Strip are disastrous, Hamas wants to silence critics and does not hesitate to torture a journalist in order to control media coverage in its territory.”[509]

Human rights abuses

In June 2011, the Independent Commission for Human Rights based in Ramallah published a report whose findings included that the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were subjected in 2010 to an “almost systematic campaign” of human rights abuses by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as by Israeli authorities, with the security forces belonging to the PA and Hamas being responsible for torture, arrests and arbitrary detentions.[510]

In 2012, the Human Rights Watch presented a 43 page long list of human rights violation committed by Hamas. Among actions attributed to Hamas the HRW report mentions beatings with metal clubs and rubber hoses, hanging of alleged collaborationists with Israel, and torture of 102 individuals. According to the report, Hamas also tortured civil society activists and peaceful protesters. Reflecting on the captivity of Gilad Shalit, the HRW report described it as “cruel and inhuman”. The report also slams Hamas for harassment of people based on so called morality offenses and for media censorship.[511][512] In a public statement Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director of HRW claimed, “after five years of Hamas rule in Gaza, its criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees’ rights and grants impunity to abusive security services.” Hamas responded by denying charges and describing them as “politically motivated”[513]

On May 26, 2015 Amnesty International released a report saying that Hamas carried out extrajudicial killings, abductions and arrests of Palestinians and used the Al-Shifa Hospital to detain, interrogate and torture suspects during the Israel–Gaza conflict in 2014. It details the executions of at least 23 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel and torture of dozens of others, many victims of torture were members of the rival Palestinian movement, Fatah.[514][515]

In 2019, Osama Qawassmeh, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, accused Hamas of “kidnapping and brutally torturing Fatah members in a way that no Palestinian can imagine.” Qawassmeh accused Hamas of kidnapping and torturing 100 Fatah members in Gaza. The torture allegedly included the practice called “shabah” – the painful binding of the hands and feet to a chair. Also in 2019, Fatah activist from Gaza Raed Abu al-Hassin was beaten and had his two legs broken by Hamas security officers. Al-Hassin was taken into custody by Hamas after he participated in a pro-Abbas demonstration in the Gaza Strip.[516]

International support

Hamas has always maintained leadership abroad. The movement is deliberately fragmented to ensure that Israel cannot kill its top political and military leaders.[517] Hamas used to be strongly allied with both Iran and Syria. Iran gave Hamas an estimated $13–15 million in 2011 as well as access to long-range missiles. Hamas’s political bureau was once located in the Syrian capital of Damascus before the start of the Syrian civil war. Relations between Hamas, Iran, and Syria began to turn cold when Hamas refused to back the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Instead, Hamas backed the Sunni rebels fighting against Assad. As a result, Iran cut funding to Hamas, and their terror proxy Hezbollah ordered Hamas members out of Lebanon.[518] Hamas was then forced out of Syria. Since then, Iran and Hezbollah have tried to mend fences with Hamas.[518] Hamas contacted Jordan and Sudan to see if either would open up its borders to its political bureau. But both countries refused – though they welcomed many Hamas members leaving Syria.[519] In 2012 Hamas headquarters subsequently moved to Doha, Qatar.[520]

From 2012 to 2013, under the leadership of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, Hamas had the support of Egypt. However, when Morsi was removed from Office, his replacement Abdul Fattah al-Sisi outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and destroyed the tunnels Hamas built into Egypt. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are likewise hostile to Hamas. Like Egypt, they designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and Hamas was viewed as its Palestinian equivalent.[518]

Qatar and Turkey

According to Middle East experts, now Hamas has two firm allies: Qatar and Turkey. Both give Hamas public and financial assistance estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Shashank Joshi, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, says that “Qatar also hosts Hamas’s political bureau which includes Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.” Meshaal also visits Turkey frequently to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.[518] Erdogan has dedicated himself to breaking Hamas out of its political and economic seclusion. Last year on U.S. television Erdogan said, “I don’t see Hamas as a terror organization. Hamas is a political party.”[517]

In 2007, Qatar was, with Turkey, the only country to back Hamas after the group ousted the Palestinian Authority from the Gaza Strip.[518] The relationship between Hamas and Qatar strengthened in 2008 and 2009 when Khaled Meshaal was invited to attend the Doha Summit where he was seated next to the then Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who pledged $250 million to repair the damage caused by the Israel in the Israeli war on Gaza.[519] These events caused Qatar to become the main player in the “Palestinian issue”. Qatar called Gaza’s blockade unjust and immoral, which prompted the Hamas government in Gaza, including former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, to thank Qatar for their “unconditional” support. Qatar then began regularly handing out political, material, humanitarian and charitable support for Hamas.[519]

In 2012, Qatar’s former Emir, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, became the first head of state to visit Gaza under Hamas rule. He pledged to raise $400 million for reconstruction. Some have argued that the money Qatar gives to reconstruct Palestine is an excuse to pour even more money into Hamas.[520] Qatar’s reason for funding Hamas, which is shared by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is allegedly that Islamist groups are growing and will eventually play a role in the region; thus it is important for Qatar (and Turkey) to maintain ties. During the Arab Spring, for example, Qatar backed the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian Islamist group whose offshoot is Hamas.[521] Other sources say that advocating for Hamas is politically beneficial to Turkey and Qatar because the Palestinian cause draws popular support amongst their citizens at home.[522]

Some began to label Qatar a terrorist haven in part because it is harboring Hamas leader Meshaal.[521] They also harbor Husam Badran, former leader of Hamas’s military wing in the northern West Bank.[523] Husam Badran, current media spokesman for Hamas, was the instigator of several of the deadliest suicide bombings of the second intifada, including the Dolphinarium discotheque bombing in Tel Aviv, which killed 21 people.[524] Turkey has also been criticized for housing terrorists including Saleh al-Arouri, the senior Hamas officer, known for his ability to mastermind attacks from abroad. Al-Arouri is alleged to have orchestrated the June 2014 abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers and to have started the 50-day war between Israel and Palestine, and now lives in Turkey.[525]

Speaking in reference to Qatar’s support for Hamas, during a 2015 visit to Palestine, Qatari official Mohammad al-Emadi, said Qatar is using the money not to help Hamas but rather the Palestinian people as a whole. He acknowledges however that giving to the Palestinian people means using Hamas as the local contact. Emadi said, “You have to support them. You don’t like them, don’t like them. But they control the country, you know.”[526] Some argue that Hamas’s relations with Qatar are putting Hamas in an awkward position because Qatar has become part of the regional Arab problem.

But Hamas claims that having contacts with various Arab countries establishes positive relations which will encourage Arab countries to do their duty toward the Palestinians and support their cause by influencing public opinion in the Arab world.[519] In March 2015, Hamas has announced its support of the Saudi Arabian-led military intervention in Yemen against the Shia Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.[527]

In May 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tweeted to the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu that Hamas is not a terrorist organization but a resistance movement that defends the Palestinian homeland against an occupying power. During that period there were conflicts between Israeli troops and Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip, due to the decision of the United States to move their embassy to Jerusalem.[528]

China

After the Hamas victory in 2006, China did not label it a “terrorist organization” and welcomed Hamas’ foreign minister, Mahmoud al-Zahar, to Beijing for the China-Arab Cooperation Forum ignoring protests by both the United States and Israel but receiving praise from Mahmoud Abbas.[529][530] China has harshly criticised Israel for its economic blockade of Gaza since 2007 when Hamas assumed control of the territory.[531][529] Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao stated, “We believe that the Palestinian government is legally elected by the people there and it should be respected”.[532] In April 2011, a spokesman from China’s foreign ministry embraced the Hamas-Fatah agreement to form an interim government.[533]

In 2014 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Israel to lift its blockade and advised both Israel and Hamas to cease fighting. He reaffirmed support from China to the Palestinian people’s right to establish an independent state. He told a joint press conference, “China will grant $1.5 million in emergency humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.”[534]

In June 2018, China voted in support of a United Nations Security Council resolution vetoed by the US that criticized Israel of excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in Gaza during the 2018 Gaza border protests. Later the same day, China abstained from voting on a US drafted resolution that blamed Hamas for the escalated violence.[535][536]

U.S.-based support

Several U.S. organizations were either shut down or held liable for financing Hamas in early 2001, groups that have origins from the mid-1990s: the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), and Kind Hearts. The U.S. Treasury Department specially designated the HLF in 2001 for terror ties: “from 1995 to 2001 the HLF transferred “approximately $12.4 million outside of the United States with the intent to contribute funds, goods, and services to Hamas.” According to the Treasury Department, Khaled Meshal identified one of HLF’s officers, Mohammed El-Mezain as “the Hamas leader for the U.S.” In 2003, IAP was found liable for financially supporting Hamas, and in 2006, Kind Hearts had their assets frozen for supporting Hamas.[537] According to congressional testimony by Jonathan Schanzer in 2016, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel includes a web of Hamas supporters from the Illinois-based organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP).[538]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas

Story 3: President Trump Threatens To Impose a 25% Tariff on $200 Billion of Chinese Exports into United States After Chinese Communist Renege on Trade Deal Commitments — Time To Pull The Trigger on 25% Tariff on Chinese Goods — Walk Away Renee — Videos

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The Four Tops – Walk Away Renee (with lyrics on screen)

Walk Away Renee – The left Banke

THE LEFT BANKE- WALK AWAY RENEE- PERFORMED @ DROM.mov

Walk Away Renee

And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every day
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me, though they’re so small
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
Songwriters: Bob Calilli / Mike Brown / Tony Sansone

Trump administration accuses China of “reneging” on trade deal commitments

Trump and Liu He
Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said in a briefing with reporters Monday he will put out a Federal Register notice tomorrow saying that the Trump administration will raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, and that importers will begin paying the new tariffs “the first minute of Friday.”

Why it matters: The business community and markets had been cautiously hopeful that Trump’s Sunday tweets were an empty threat to create leverage over China and that he’d ultimately back down. That’s still possible, of course, but Lighthizer made clear he didn’t think that was going to happen.

Driving the news: Lighthizer said he still expects the top Chinese negotiator, Liu He, to come to Washington on Thursday, though he said he hadn’t spoken to the vice premier since he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left Beijing last week. Mnuchin, who was also in the briefing, said he hadn’t spoken to Liu He either since he left China.

  • Mnuchin said he thought until recent days that the Trump administration was on the precipice of a “historic” deal with China — one that was hyper-detailed, running to almost 150 pages.
  • He said the past week had brought a “big change in direction for the negotiations” with the Chinese backtracking on specific commitments that they had made in writing.

Mnuchin and Lighthizer wouldn’t say what, specifically, the Chinese were trying to re-trade. But they both stressed that China’s team wasn’t squabbling over small stuff. Lighthizer and Mnuchin used words like “substantive” and “substantial” to characterize the attempted Chinese backflip.

Between the lines: Mnuchin left slightly more room for another twist this week. He made a point of saying that Liu He had been “very helpful to work with” and he’d built a strong relationship with the vice premier. He said President Trump had been willing to extend the deadline on tariff hikes previously because of the “substantial progress” they’d made.

  • Lighthizer said his interpretation of what happened was that some on the Chinese side found the commitments the negotiating team had already agreed on to be unacceptable. (Translation: The Chinese side has hardliners, too.) “I would use the word reneging on prior commitments,” Lighthizer said.
  • Mnuchin, who is less hawkish on China, left slightly more room for a last minute plot twist. He said if the Chinese come to Washington and are willing to go back to their original commitments and negotiate in good faith, then of course he and Lighthizer would take that to President Trump. But as of now, the tariffs are going ahead, he said.

What’s next? A reporter asked Lighthizer what he would say to American businesses who already have goods on the water headed to U.S. ports, which will face significantly higher costs if the tariffs go into effect. Lighthizer said, “There’ll be ways to work out” the situation but he gave no specifics. He said it’s been clear for some time that something like this — a dramatic tariff increase — could happen. U.S. businesses, in other words, should have been prepared for this.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1247, April 30, 2019, Story 1: Vive Venezuelan Revolution Regime Change — Send In Trump’s Private Army — Central Intelligence Agency — Takeover Oil Fields and Restore Democracy — Cubans and Russians Deported To Country of Origin — Videos — Story 2: Babbling Biden Bowel Movement — A Few Dozen Union Leaders Show Up — Not Very Impressive — Videos — Story 3: Biden Surges in Rigged Polls — Videos — Story 4: A Whole Lot of Unmasking Going On — Artifact of Attempted Deep State Coupe? — Videos

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Story 1: Vive Venezuelan Revolution Regime Change — Send In Trump’s Private Army — Central Intelligence Agency — Takeover Oil Fields and Restore Democracy — Cubans and Russians Deported To Country of Origin — Videos

 

Venezuela’s Guaidó calls for uprising against Maduro

Guaido initiates ‘final phase’ of uprising in Venezuela

Erik Prince Wants A Private Army Sent To Venezuela

Venezuela Collapse Explained

Venezuela Crisis Explained (Short Documentary 2017)

Pompeo warns Russia to get out of Venezuela

Venezuela’s President Maduro ‘had a plane on the tarmac’ yesterday and was ready to flee to Cuba before RUSSIA intervened to stop him leaving, US claims after tens of thousands of people hit the streets in support of his rival Juan Guaido sparking violent clashes with military

  • Juan Guaido called for uprising against Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday from the La Carlota airbase in Caracas
  • Mike Pompeo claims Maduro was ready to leave Venezuela as uprising began until the Kremlin intervened 
  • Guaido made the announcement surrounded by troops who then began setting up a defensive perimeter
  • Maduro’s forces fired tear gas before a heavy exchange of gunfire, with protesters caught in the middle
  • Video footage shows a Venezuelan National Guard armoured vehicle plough into a group of protesters
  • Trump administration backs Guaido and his uprising while Putin backs Maduro during talks with top officials

Clashes rock Venezuela as Guaido urges opposition uprising

24 minutes ago

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó took a bold step to revive his movement to seize power in Venezuela, taking to the streets Tuesday to call for a military uprising that drew quick support from the Trump administration but also fierce resistance from forces loyal to embattled socialist Nicolas Maduro.

Violent street battles erupted in parts of Caracas in what was the most serious challenge yet to Maduro’s rule — kicked off with a video shot at dawn of Guaidó, flanked by several heavily armed national guardsmen, urging a final push to topple Maduro.

In one dramatic incident during a chaotic day, several armored vehicles plowed into a group of anti-government demonstrators trying to storm the capital’s air base, hitting at least two protesters.

Still, the rebellion, dubbed “Operation Freedom,” seemed to have garnered only limited military support.

The dramatic events began early Tuesday when Guaidó, flanked by a few dozen national guardsmen and some armored crowd-control vehicles, released the three-minute video shot near the Carlota air base.

In a surprise, Leopoldo Lopez, Guaido’s political mentor and the nation’s most-prominent opposition activist, stood alongside him. Detained in 2014 for leading a previous round of anti-government unrest, Lopez said he had been released from house arrest by security forces adhering to an order from Guaidó.

“I want to tell the Venezuelan people: This is the moment to take to the streets and accompany these patriotic soldiers,” Lopez declared.

As the two opposition leaders coordinated actions from a highway overpass, troops loyal to Maduro fired tear gas from inside the adjacent air base.

A crowd that quickly swelled to a few thousand scurried for cover, reappearing later with Guaidó at a plaza a few blocks from the disturbances. A smaller group of masked youths stayed behind on the highway, lobbing rocks and Molotov cocktails toward the air base and setting a government bus on fire.

An anti-government protester walks near a bus that was set on fire by opponents of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during clashes between rebel and loyalist soldiers in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Amid the mayhem, several armored utility vehicles careened over a berm and drove at full speed into the crowd. Two demonstrators, lying on the ground with their heads and legs bloodied, were rushed away on a motorcycle as the vehicles sped away dodging fireballs thrown by the demonstrators.

“It’s now or never,” said one of the young rebellious soldiers, his face covered in the blue bandanna worn by the few dozen insurgent soldiers.

Later Tuesday, Lopez and his family sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas, where another political ally has been holed up for over a year. There were also reports that 25 troops who had been with Guaidó fled to Brazil’s diplomatic mission.

Amid the confusion, Maduro tried to project an image of strength, saying he had spoken to several regional military commanders who reaffirmed their loyalty.

“Nerves of steel!” he said in a message posted on Twitter.

Flanked by top military commanders, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López condemned Guaido’s move as a “terrorist” act and “coup attempt” that was bound to fail like past uprisings.

Fireworks launched by opponents of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro land near Bolivarian National Guard armored vehicles loyal to Maduro, during an attempted military uprising in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

“Those who try to take Miraflores with violence will be met with violence,” he said on national television, referring to the presidential palace where hundreds of government supporters, some of them brandishing firearms, had gathered in response to a call to defend Maduro.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the “right-wing extremists” would not succeed in fracturing the armed forces, which have largely stood with the socialist leader throughout the months of turmoil.

“Since 2002, we’ve seen the same pattern,” Arreaza told The Associated Press. “They call for violence, a coup, and send people into the streets so that there are confrontations and deaths. And then from the blood they try to construct a narrative.”

Protesters erected barricades of debris at several downtown intersections about 10 blocks from the presidential palace, but police in riot gear moved in quickly to clear the roads. Most shops and businesses were closed and the streets of the capital unusually quiet, as people huddled at home to await the outcome of the day’s drama.

Guaidó said he called for the uprising to restore Venezuela’s constitutional order, broken when Maduro was sworn in earlier this year for a second term following elections boycotted by the opposition and considered illegitimate by dozens of countries.

Paramedics aid an anti-government protester who was injured during clashes with security forces loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, during an attempted military uprising in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Vergara)

He said that in the coming hours he would release a list of top commanders supporting the uprising. There were unconfirmed reports that Gen. Manuel Christopher Figuera, who heads the feared intelligence agency responsible for keeping Lopez in state custody, was among members of the security forces who had decided to flip.

“The armed forces have taken the right decision,” said Guaidó. “With the support of the Venezuelan people and the backing of our constitution they are on the right side of history.”

Anti-government demonstrators gathered in several other cities, although there were no reports that Guaidó’s supporters had taken control of any military installations.

As events unfolded, governments from around the world expressed support for Guaidó while reiterating calls to avoid violent confrontation.

Bolton declined to discuss possible actions — military or otherwise — but reiterated that “all options” are on the table as President Donald J. Trump monitors developments “minute by minute.”

He said he was waiting for key power brokers including Padrino, Supreme Court chief justice Maikel Moreno and head of the presidential guard to make good on their commitments to achieve the peaceful transfer of power to Guiado.

“All agreed that Maduro had to go. They need to be able to act this afternoon, or this evening, to help bring other military forces to the side of the interim president,” Bolton said. “If this effort fails, (Venezuela) will sink into a dictatorship from which there are very few possible alternatives.”

Elsewhere, Spain’s socialist caretaker government urged restraint, while the governments of Cuba and Bolivia reiterated their support for Maduro.

___

Joshua Goodman in Cucuta, Colombia, contributed to this report.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6975871/Venezuelas-Juan-Guaido-calls-military-revolt-final-phase-overthrowing-President-Maduro.html

 

– Story 2: Babbling Biden Bowel Movement — A Few Hundred Union Leaders Show Up — Not Very Impressive — Videos

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Joe Biden holds first 2020 campaign rally

 

Story 3: Biden Surges in Rigged CNN Polls — 39% Biden, 15% Sanders and No Other Candidates in Double Digits —  Videos

 

Biden surges in primary polls

Former Vice President Joe Biden has surged in the polls since launching his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, opening up a double-digit lead over the rest of the field in two new national surveys.

A CNN poll released Tuesday found Biden jumping 11 points to 39 percent support, a 24-point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is at 15 percent support. No other candidate in the race has double-digit backing from respondents.

And a Morning Consult survey released Tuesday found Biden with 36 percent support, followed by Sanders at 22 percent. That’s a 6-point bounce for Biden from the same survey released earlier this month, while Sanders has fallen by 2 points. No other candidate reaches double-digit support in the Morning Consult poll, either.

Biden’s polling strength also extends to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

A Suffolk University survey released Tuesday found the former Delaware senator in the lead in New Hampshire with 20 percent support, followed by Sanders and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 12 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is in fourth place at 8 percent.

If Biden were to win New Hampshire it would be a massive blow to Sanders and Warren, who come from nearby states and are seen as having a home-field advantage in the Northeast.

Biden’s strength in the polls is driven by his broad support from African Americans. Biden has 43 percent support from black voters, according to Morning Consult. Sanders is at 20 percent here, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at 10 percent.

The same holds true in the CNN poll, with Biden hitting 50 percent among nonwhite voters. Sanders is a distant second at 14 percent, and no other candidate is in double-digits.

With Biden emerging as the clear early front-runner, the Democrats lagging behind are increasingly taking shots at him and his decades-long voting record.

Sanders went after Biden with his most direct attacks yet on Monday night on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”

“I helped lead the fight against NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement], [Biden] voted for NAFTA. I helped lead the fight against China [on trade], he voted for it. I strongly opposed [the Trans-Pacific Partnership], he supported it. I voted against the war in Iraq, he voted for it,” Sanders said.

President Trump also unloaded on Biden with a series of Twitter attacks, suggesting the president and his political team view the former vice president as a formidable challenger.

The attacks from the White House further help Biden separate himself from the pack of Democrats behind him, setting up an early one-on-one with the president that sets Biden above the fray.

Biden has sought to draw early contrasts between himself and Trump, opening his launch speech by attacking the president’s response to the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

On Monday, Biden rallied union workers at a campaign event in Pennsylvania, a state Trump turned red in the last election for the first time since 1988.

“I’m sick of this President badmouthing unions,” Biden tweeted. “Labor built the middle class in this country … we need a president who honors them and their work.”

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/441313-poll-biden-surges-in-primary-polls

Biden holds 26-point lead among Dems in new national poll

Days after announcing his presidential candidacy, former Vice President Joe Biden holds a 26-point lead over other Democratic contenders, according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday.

Biden, who announced his White House bid early Thursday, leads among Democrats and voters leaning Democratic with 38 percent support of those surveyed, according to the poll.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) came in second in the poll with 12 percent support among those surveyed, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with 11 percent, the poll found.

“The Democratic primary race suddenly gets real with a fast start by former Vice President Joe Biden and a very clear indication from voters that he is the only candidate who can send President Trumppacking 18 months from now,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

The results of the Quinnipiac University Poll are similar to survey results released Tuesday that showed a surge of support for Biden following his campaign launch. The former vice president far outpaced every other candidate in several polls release Tuesday.

CNN-SSRS poll released Tuesday found that Biden leaped 11 points since last month, earning the support of 39 percent of the Democratic electorate. That poll found Biden holding a 24-point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and no other candidate earning double-digit support.

A Morning Consult survey released Tuesday found that Biden rose from 30 percent support earlier this month to 36 percent support. That poll found Sanders’s support at 22 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll surveyed 419 Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters from April 26 to 29 and has a margin of error of 5.6 percentage points.

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/441399-biden-holds-26-point-lead-among-dems-in-new-national-poll

Story 4: A Whole Lot of Unmasking Going On — Artifact of Attempted Deep State Coupe — Videos

 

NSA Reports 75% Increase in Unmasking U.S. Identities Under Foreign Surveillance Law in 2018

The National Security Agency, responsible for electronic eavesdropping, disclosed the identities of people or entities that are normally redacted in intelligence reports

 

A sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. PHOTO: PATRICK SEMANSKY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The National Security Agency revealed to federal agencies the identities of almost 17,000 U.S. residents or corporations whose information was collected under a foreign surveillance law in 2018, registering about a 75% increase in unmaskings over the previous year, according to an annual transparency report released Tuesday.

The NSA, responsible for electronic eavesdropping, disclosed the identities of people or entities that are normally redacted in intelligence reports—in response to specific requests from other government agencies to reveal the identities, a process known as unmasking.

In 2018, NSA said it unmasked 16,721 U.S. identities caught up in intelligence intercepts produced by a foreign intelligence law, the report said. It unmasked 9,529 in 2017 and 9,217 in a 12-month period across 2015 and 2016.

The surge in the number of unmaskings last year was fueled in part by an effort to determine the identities of victims of cyberattacks from foreign intelligence agencies, according to Alex Joel, head of civil liberties and transparency at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which released Tuesday’s report.

Mr. Joel, in a call with reporters, said there were a number of varied factors—including world events and evolving threats—that could result in statistical fluctuations in a given year for a certain type of surveillance.

Unmasking is a term used when the identity of a U.S. citizen, lawful resident, or corporate entity is revealed in classified intelligence reports. Unmasking is designed to be only used for national-security reasons, such as helping officials assess intelligence by providing the identity of someone two foreign spies may be discussing on a call. But the process is governed by strict rules across the U.S. intelligence apparatus that make it illegal to use unmaskings for political purposes or to leak classified information.

The practice has become a politically charged topic in recent years, as President Trump and some Republican allies in Congress have repeatedly accused the Obama administration of improperly using surveillance information—including unmasking the redacted names of Mr. Trump’s transition team members—for political gain. Former intelligence officials have repeatedly denied those accusations, and no evidence has been provided publicly to support them.

The unmasked information was collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows U.S. intelligence agencies to collect certain categories of foreign intelligence information from international phone calls and emails of terrorism suspects and other perceived security threats. Information from that surveillance is often shared with relevant federal government agencies with the names of any U.S. persons redacted to protect their privacy, unless an agency requests that identities be unmasked.

Privacy advocates have long criticized the law for allowing broad surveillance that can implicate Americans and doesn’t require individualized warrants, while U.S. intelligence officials have defended it as among the most valuable national-security tools at their disposal.

A single intelligence report could contain a lengthy list of identities that a government agency would ask to have unmasked, including the victims of large-scale foreign intelligence operations. In that case, each individual person or entity would be counted separately, Mr. Joel said. As a result, the NSA shared only 1,379 reports last year containing identities that were revealed.

The report showed the number of foreigners targeted under the law continued to rise in 2018 to 164,770, about 35,000 higher than the previous year.

But information about Americans that was incidentally collected dropped to 14,374—down from nearly 17,000 in 2017 and less than half the total collected two years ago. Incidental collection can occur in a number of ways, including when a U.S. person communicates with a foreign target under surveillance.

Congress passed legislation in January 2018 that renewed the surveillance authority for six years with minimal changes, which Mr. Trump signed into law.

The transparency report released Tuesday also showed that the NSA had gathered in 2018 fewer metadata records of domestic phone calls and text messages—about 434 million compared with the 534 million collected in 2017. But the latest figure includes records collected both before and after the NSA had to purge its database last year, meaning NSA recollected a large amount of those records and counted them twice, Mr. Joel said.

The NSA purged its database after learning it was receiving information it wasn’t authorized to obtain, including data about phone numbers not connected to any surveillance target. Metadata include the numbers and time stamps of a call or text message but not the contents of the conversation.

The law that governs that phone metadata program is due to expire in December. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the NSA had recommended to the White House that it let the program lapse due to logistical and legal burdens and that the White House hadn’t yet made a policy decision on the matter.

In a possible reflection of the phone system’s waning importance—compared to other surveillance programs that saw a rise in phone use—analysts at the NSA obtained orders to gather records about only an estimated 11 targets last year, down from 40 in 2017, the report said.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1224, March 18, 2019, Story 1: As Expected President Trump Vetoes Dangerous Congressional Resolution — Videos — Story 2: National Emergency At United States/Mexico Border — First and Foremost The Safety and Security of American People Should Be Top Priority of Congress — Videos — Story 3:Biden Running For President Will Michelle Obama Agree To Be His Vice President Candidate? — Videos

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Story 1: As Expected President Trump Vetoes Dangerous Congressional Resolution — Videos —

FIRST VETO: President Trump issues first veto after rebuke of border order (FNN)

Trump issues his first veto on Congress’ resolution blocking emergency order to build border wall

Trump signs first veto over national emergency declaration
March 15, 2019 at 12:39 PM CDT – Updated March 15 at 6:29 PM

By JILL COLVIN, LISA MASCARO and ALAN FRAM Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency on Friday, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding.

Flanked by law enforcement officials as well as the parents of children killed by people in the country illegally, Trump maintained that he is not through fighting for his signature campaign promise, which stands largely unfulfilled 18 months before voters decide whether to grant him another term.

Trump said: “It is a tremendous national emergency,” adding, “our immigration system is stretched beyond the breaking point.”

A dozen defecting Republicans joined Senate Democrats in approving the joint resolution on Thursday, which capped a week of confrontation with the White House as both parties in Congress strained to exert their power in new ways. It is unlikely that Congress will have the two-thirds majority required to override Trump’s veto, though House Democrats have suggested they would try nonetheless.

Trump wants to use the emergency order to divert billions of federal dollars earmarked for defense spending toward the southern border wall. It still faces several legal challenges in federal court.

Trump is expected to issue his second veto in the coming weeks over a congressional resolution seeking to end U.S. backing for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting in Yemen. The resolution was approved in the aftermath of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The 59-41 tally on Thursday, and the Senate’s vote a day earlier to end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen, promised to force Trump into the first vetoes of his presidency as he faces a now-divided Congress. The House is planning a vote to override the expected veto on the national emergency, which is likely to occur on March 26 following next week’s recess. But it is unlikely that Congress will have the votes to override it.

Trump says protecting the U.S. is his highest duty

Two years into the Trump era, a dozen Republicans, pushed along by Democrats, showed a willingness to take the political risk of defecting. The 12 GOP senators, including the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney of Utah, joined the dissent over the emergency declaration order that would enable the president to seize for the wall billions of dollars Congress intended to be spent elsewhere.

“The Senate’s waking up a little bit to our responsibilities,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who said the chamber had become “a little lazy” as an equal branch of government. “I think the value of these last few weeks is to remind the Senate of our constitutional place.”

Many senators said the vote was not necessarily a rejection of the president or the wall, but protections against future presidents — namely a Democrat who might want to declare an emergency on climate change, gun control or any number of other issues.

“This is constitutional question, it’s a question about the balance of power that is core to our constitution,” Romney said. “This is not about the president.”

Thursday’s vote was the first direct challenge to the 1976 National Emergencies Act, just as Wednesday’s on Yemen was the first time Congress invoked the decades-old War Powers Act to try to rein in a president. Seven Republicans joined Democrats in calling for an end to U.S. backing for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in the aftermath of the kingdom’s role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Even without the numbers needed to override a veto, the twin votes nevertheless sent a message from Capitol Hill.

“Today’s votes cap a week of something the American people haven’t seen enough of in the last two years,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, “both parties in the United States Congress standing up to Donald Trump.”

The result is a role-reversal for Republicans who have been reluctant to take on Trump, bracing against his high-profile tweets and public attacks of reprimand. But now they are facing challenges from voters — in some states where senators face stiff elections — who are expecting more from Congress.

Centrist Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who’s among those most vulnerable in 2020, said she’s sure the president “will not be happy with my vote. But I’m a United States senator and I feel my job is to stand up for the Constitution, so let the chips fall where they may.”

Trump’s grip on the party, though, remains strong and the White House made it clear that Republicans resisting Trump could face political consequences. Ahead of the voting, Trump framed the issue as with-him-or-against-him on border security, a powerful argument with many.

“A vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!” Trump tweeted. “Don’t vote with Pelosi!” he said in another, referring to the speaker of the House.

A White House official said Trump won’t forget when senators who oppose him want him to attend fundraisers or provide other help. The official was not authorized to speak publicly on internal deliberations so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump brought on the challenge months ago when he all but dared Congress not to give him the $5.7 billion he was demanding to build the U.S.-Mexico wall, threatening a federal government shutdown.

Congress declined and the result was the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Against the advice of GOP leaders, Trump invoked the national emergency declaration last month, allowing him to try to tap about $3.6 billion for the wall by shuffling money from military projects, and that drew outrage from many lawmakers. Trump had campaigned for president promising Mexico would pay for the wall.

The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, and lawmakers seethed as they worried about losing money for military projects that had already been approved for bases at home and abroad. The Democratic-led House swiftly voted to terminate Trump’s order.

Senate Republicans spent weeks trying to avoid this outcome, up until the night before the vote, in a script that was familiar — up until the gavel.

http://www.kcbd.com/2019/03/15/trump-poised-veto-border-emergency-rebuke/

 

Story 2: National Emergency At United States/Mexico Border — First and Foremost The Safety and Security of American People Should Be Top Priority of Congress —

Pence to Congress: Back Trump’s border emergency

Vice President Mike Pence visited the Customs and Border Protection Advanced Training Facility in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Wednesday. Pence got a first hand look at the facility’s live combat training, border wall training exercises and watched a life-size simulator with a series of border security scenarios. The vice president was joined on the tour by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. In remarks following the tour, Pence thanked the Customs and Border Protection agents for their hard work and pledged the administration’s support, telling the crowd, “under this president, we will always have your back.” He told those gathered that the president’s budget proposal released this week calls for half a billion dollars to hire additional Customs and Border Protection and ICE agents, to add more than 1,700 personnel to the front lines of the border fight. Pence also called on Congress to support President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration at the southern border, saying, “A vote against the president’s emergency declaration is a vote against border security.”

Definitive and Resounding’: DHS Sec’y Nielsen Says Country Faces Emergency at Southern Border

 

Story 3:Biden Running For President Will Michelle Obama Agree To Be His Vice President Candidate? — Videos

 

Joe Biden’s verbal slip in speech suggests he might run for president

 

Biden Edges Closer to Presidential Run

The burden of a 40-year career: Some of Joe Biden’s record doesn’t age well

The burden of a 40-year career: Some of Joe Biden’s record doesn’t age well
Joe Biden speaks during the First State Democratic Dinner in Dover, Delaware, on March 16. 2019. (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

Joe Biden is carrying a 20th century voting record into a 21st century political dogfight.

During more than 40 years in public life, Biden has taken an array of stances at odds with today’s Democratic Party consensus. As he now prepares for his third presidential campaign, that record could hamper him in a big field of mostly younger, more liberal primary rivals.

A review of Biden’s record — which spans 36 years as a U.S. senator and eight as vice president — is, in part, a reminder of how much the Democratic Party itself and the U.S. political system have changed over the last half a century.

Biden opposed school busing for desegregation in the 1970s. He voted for a measure aimed at outlawing gay marriage in the 1990s. He was an ally of the banking and credit card industries.

He chaired the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings that gave short shrift to the sexual harassment allegations raised by Anita Hill. He backed crime legislation that many blamed for helping fuel an explosion in prison populations. He eulogized Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), who rose to prominence as a segregationist. He backed the Iraq war.

Many of Biden’s positions were well within the mainstream of the Democratic Party at the time he took them.

But the party is now far more sensitive to discrimination against gays, sexual harassment and racial inequality than when Biden first came to Washington.

The capital has changed, too. The Senate Biden entered as a 30-year-old in 1973 was still a bastion of bipartisan backslapping, where compromise was not a dirty word. The Democratic Party was a coalition of Southern conservatives and Northern liberals. Liberal Republicans were still a thriving political faction.

Biden’s record, even though he has reversed himself on some issues, provides ammunition to skeptics who see him as a politician of another era — a beloved figure, but one whose time has come and gone.

“I worry whether he is ready for the times,” said Chris Schwartz, a Black Hawk County supervisor in Iowa who says Biden is not in his top five choices among the candidates but is prepared to support whoever is nominated. “He has just gotten too many big issues wrong over the years.”

But most Democratic voters put their top priority on beating President Trump, and Biden allies say he is the best equipped to win. Polls show Democrats are still fond of Biden and seem more willing to forgive him for his past than they ever were for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“I’ve seen Biden change; all of us have seen our parents, our aunts and uncles change,’’ said Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party who is neutral in the 2020 race but supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary.

“I don’t think it says who he is today,” Kleeb said of some of the flashpoints in Biden’s voting record.

If Biden, 76, formally enters the race — he has strongly hinted he will do so in a matter of weeks — the question will be which of those attitudes will prevail.

Speaking at a dinner of the Delaware Democratic Party in Dover on Saturday night, Biden responded to criticism of him from what he called “the new left.”

“I have the most progressive record of anybody running,” said Biden, who quickly revised his words when the audience reacted as if he were announcing his candidacy. “Anybody who would run. I didn’t mean it.”

But his speech sounded like a campaign stump speech, and other Democrats treated his eventual entry into the race as a foregone conclusion.

“If you ask me he doesn’t just look like he’s back,” Delaware Gov. John Carney said of Biden. “He looks like he’s ready for a fight.”

Biden would join a big field of Democratic candidates that spans four generations, from millennials including South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, to Silent Generation member Bernie Sanders, 77. The latest entrant to the field, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, is a Gen Xer 30 years younger than Biden.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he hoped that scrutiny of Biden’s Senate record would not distract from Biden’s core 2020 message.

“I think that getting down in the weeds of things he might have said literally 40 years ago misses the point that Donald Trump literally yesterday said something about white nationalism that is gravely concerning,” Coons said in an interview before the Dover dinner. “I am happy to defend his record in detail, but as a candidate he should and will focus on how his experience combined with his heart and character make him the right person for leading us.”

If rivals do criticize his past record, Biden allies say context will be important to understanding it. A majority of Democrats in the Senate voted for the anti-gay-marriage bill, the Iraq war and the 1994 crime bill. The banking and credit card industry is important to the economy of Biden’s home state of Delaware.

Ed Rendell, a Biden supporter who is former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, says the former vice president’s campaign should address questions about his past positions in a simple stroke.

“He should say, ‘Look, those were the beliefs that were commonly held, even among progressive people, back 30 years ago,’ ” Rendell said. “‘In retrospect they were clearly wrong. My views on those subjects have evolved. Period.’”

That is an easy argument to make on the matter of gay rights. In 1996, Biden was one of 32 Senate Democrats to vote for the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In 2012, as vice president, he stepped out in favor of same-sex marriage even before President Obama did. He has taken other steps since then to advance gay and transgender rights that have made him something of a hero to the LGBTQ community.

Danny Barefoot, a Democratic political consultant who is not affiliated with any 2020 presidential candidate, recently conducted a focus group with black women in South Carolina and found that negative messaging about Biden’s record did not ring true to these loyal Democrats, especially on questions related to his commitment to civil rights.

Presented with reports about his opposition to school busing in Delaware in the 1970s, one woman asked “if we’re honestly asking her to believe he is a segregationist,” Barefoot wrote.

But he found Biden might have more work to do putting to rest questions about his handling of Hill’s sexual harassment claims against Thomas.

The focus group unanimously said Biden needed to personally apologize to Hill. As chairman of the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, he was criticized for not pursuing more aggressively the sexual harassment allegations Hill raised.

That is one of several areas where Biden has already taken some steps to make amends.

“Anita Hill was vilified, when she came forward, by a lot of my colleagues, character assassination,” Biden said on the “Today” show in September 2018, around the time the Senate was grappling with sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.

“I wish I could have done more to prevent those questions and the way they asked them.”

But Hill, who declined a request for an interview, said in a December 2018 interview with Elle magazine that Biden had not apologized to her directly.

“It’s become sort of a running joke in the household when someone rings the doorbell, and we’re not expecting company,” she told Elle. “ ‘Oh,’ we say, ‘is that Joe Biden coming to apologize?’ ”

Biden has also revised his thinking on some tough-on-crime and anti-drug measures of the 1980s and 1990s. At a Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast in January, he expressed particular regret for a bill that created different legal standards for powdered cocaine and street crack cocaine.

“It was a big mistake that was made,” Biden said of the disparity, which the Obama administration worked to reduce. “We were told by the experts that crack, you never go back, that the two were somehow fundamentally different. It’s not different. But it’s trapped an entire generation.”

He makes no apologies for his good old-fashioned willingness to work with Republicans — a trait that could endear him to many voters impatient with partisan stalemate in Washington.

When he was asked to deliver the eulogy for former Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond in 2003, Biden joked about their implausible relationship and called the late senator’s request for him to speak “his last laugh.”

“I disagreed deeply with Strom on the issue of civil rights, and on many other issues, but I watched him change,” he said in the eulogy.

More recently, he drew fire from the left for referring to Vice President Mike Pence as a “decent guy.” And during the 2018 midterm campaign, he publicly praised a House Republican, Fred Upton, for his work on a cancer research bill dear to Biden, whose son died in 2015 of brain cancer. The praise of Upton troubled some Democrats because they were trying to defeat him, and he cited Biden’s words in debate with his Democratic opponent.

Biden bridles at criticism of his bipartisan gestures. “We don’t treat the opposition as the enemy,” Biden said in the Dover speech. “We might even say a nice word every once in a while about a Republican when they do something good.”

But paeans to bipartisanship can be like fingernails on a blackboard to the combative Democratic left — especially among voters too young to have known a less polarized political environment who are gravitating to the party’s more liberal candidates.

Kristina Hughes, 30, an Omaha voter who is attracted to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren said, “Anybody who says Mike Pence is a decent guy doesn’t get my vote in 2020.”

The burden of a 40-year career: Some of Joe Biden’s record doesn’t age well

The burden of a 40-year career: Some of Joe Biden’s record doesn’t age well
Joe Biden speaks during the First State Democratic Dinner in Dover, Delaware, on March 16. 2019. (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

Joe Biden is carrying a 20th century voting record into a 21st century political dogfight.

During more than 40 years in public life, Biden has taken an array of stances at odds with today’s Democratic Party consensus. As he now prepares for his third presidential campaign, that record could hamper him in a big field of mostly younger, more liberal primary rivals.

A review of Biden’s record — which spans 36 years as a U.S. senator and eight as vice president — is, in part, a reminder of how much the Democratic Party itself and the U.S. political system have changed over the last half a century.

Biden opposed school busing for desegregation in the 1970s. He voted for a measure aimed at outlawing gay marriage in the 1990s. He was an ally of the banking and credit card industries.

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He chaired the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings that gave short shrift to the sexual harassment allegations raised by Anita Hill. He backed crime legislation that many blamed for helping fuel an explosion in prison populations. He eulogized Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), who rose to prominence as a segregationist. He backed the Iraq war.

Many of Biden’s positions were well within the mainstream of the Democratic Party at the time he took them.

But the party is now far more sensitive to discrimination against gays, sexual harassment and racial inequality than when Biden first came to Washington.

The capital has changed, too. The Senate Biden entered as a 30-year-old in 1973 was still a bastion of bipartisan backslapping, where compromise was not a dirty word. The Democratic Party was a coalition of Southern conservatives and Northern liberals. Liberal Republicans were still a thriving political faction.

Biden’s record, even though he has reversed himself on some issues, provides ammunition to skeptics who see him as a politician of another era — a beloved figure, but one whose time has come and gone.

“I worry whether he is ready for the times,” said Chris Schwartz, a Black Hawk County supervisor in Iowa who says Biden is not in his top five choices among the candidates but is prepared to support whoever is nominated. “He has just gotten too many big issues wrong over the years.”

But most Democratic voters put their top priority on beating President Trump, and Biden allies say he is the best equipped to win. Polls show Democrats are still fond of Biden and seem more willing to forgive him for his past than they ever were for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“I’ve seen Biden change; all of us have seen our parents, our aunts and uncles change,’’ said Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party who is neutral in the 2020 race but supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary.

“I don’t think it says who he is today,” Kleeb said of some of the flashpoints in Biden’s voting record.

If Biden, 76, formally enters the race — he has strongly hinted he will do so in a matter of weeks — the question will be which of those attitudes will prevail.

Speaking at a dinner of the Delaware Democratic Party in Dover on Saturday night, Biden responded to criticism of him from what he called “the new left.”

“I have the most progressive record of anybody running,” said Biden, who quickly revised his words when the audience reacted as if he were announcing his candidacy. “Anybody who would run. I didn’t mean it.”

But his speech sounded like a campaign stump speech, and other Democrats treated his eventual entry into the race as a foregone conclusion.

“If you ask me he doesn’t just look like he’s back,” Delaware Gov. John Carney said of Biden. “He looks like he’s ready for a fight.”

Biden would join a big field of Democratic candidates that spans four generations, from millennials including South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, to Silent Generation member Bernie Sanders, 77. The latest entrant to the field, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, is a Gen Xer 30 years younger than Biden.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he hoped that scrutiny of Biden’s Senate record would not distract from Biden’s core 2020 message.

“I think that getting down in the weeds of things he might have said literally 40 years ago misses the point that Donald Trump literally yesterday said something about white nationalism that is gravely concerning,” Coons said in an interview before the Dover dinner. “I am happy to defend his record in detail, but as a candidate he should and will focus on how his experience combined with his heart and character make him the right person for leading us.”

If rivals do criticize his past record, Biden allies say context will be important to understanding it. A majority of Democrats in the Senate voted for the anti-gay-marriage bill, the Iraq war and the 1994 crime bill. The banking and credit card industry is important to the economy of Biden’s home state of Delaware.

Ed Rendell, a Biden supporter who is former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, says the former vice president’s campaign should address questions about his past positions in a simple stroke.

“He should say, ‘Look, those were the beliefs that were commonly held, even among progressive people, back 30 years ago,’ ” Rendell said. “‘In retrospect they were clearly wrong. My views on those subjects have evolved. Period.’”

That is an easy argument to make on the matter of gay rights. In 1996, Biden was one of 32 Senate Democrats to vote for the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In 2012, as vice president, he stepped out in favor of same-sex marriage even before President Obama did. He has taken other steps since then to advance gay and transgender rights that have made him something of a hero to the LGBTQ community.

Danny Barefoot, a Democratic political consultant who is not affiliated with any 2020 presidential candidate, recently conducted a focus group with black women in South Carolina and found that negative messaging about Biden’s record did not ring true to these loyal Democrats, especially on questions related to his commitment to civil rights.

Presented with reports about his opposition to school busing in Delaware in the 1970s, one woman asked “if we’re honestly asking her to believe he is a segregationist,” Barefoot wrote.

But he found Biden might have more work to do putting to rest questions about his handling of Hill’s sexual harassment claims against Thomas.

The focus group unanimously said Biden needed to personally apologize to Hill. As chairman of the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, he was criticized for not pursuing more aggressively the sexual harassment allegations Hill raised.

That is one of several areas where Biden has already taken some steps to make amends.

“Anita Hill was vilified, when she came forward, by a lot of my colleagues, character assassination,” Biden said on the “Today” show in September 2018, around the time the Senate was grappling with sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.

“I wish I could have done more to prevent those questions and the way they asked them.”

But Hill, who declined a request for an interview, said in a December 2018 interview with Elle magazine that Biden had not apologized to her directly.

“It’s become sort of a running joke in the household when someone rings the doorbell, and we’re not expecting company,” she told Elle. “ ‘Oh,’ we say, ‘is that Joe Biden coming to apologize?’ ”

Biden has also revised his thinking on some tough-on-crime and anti-drug measures of the 1980s and 1990s. At a Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast in January, he expressed particular regret for a bill that created different legal standards for powdered cocaine and street crack cocaine.

“It was a big mistake that was made,” Biden said of the disparity, which the Obama administration worked to reduce. “We were told by the experts that crack, you never go back, that the two were somehow fundamentally different. It’s not different. But it’s trapped an entire generation.”

He makes no apologies for his good old-fashioned willingness to work with Republicans — a trait that could endear him to many voters impatient with partisan stalemate in Washington.

When he was asked to deliver the eulogy for former Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond in 2003, Biden joked about their implausible relationship and called the late senator’s request for him to speak “his last laugh.”

“I disagreed deeply with Strom on the issue of civil rights, and on many other issues, but I watched him change,” he said in the eulogy.

More recently, he drew fire from the left for referring to Vice President Mike Pence as a “decent guy.” And during the 2018 midterm campaign, he publicly praised a House Republican, Fred Upton, for his work on a cancer research bill dear to Biden, whose son died in 2015 of brain cancer. The praise of Upton troubled some Democrats because they were trying to defeat him, and he cited Biden’s words in debate with his Democratic opponent.

Biden bridles at criticism of his bipartisan gestures. “We don’t treat the opposition as the enemy,” Biden said in the Dover speech. “We might even say a nice word every once in a while about a Republican when they do something good.”

But paeans to bipartisanship can be like fingernails on a blackboard to the combative Democratic left — especially among voters too young to have known a less polarized political environment who are gravitating to the party’s more liberal candidates.

Kristina Hughes, 30, an Omaha voter who is attracted to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren said, “Anybody who says Mike Pence is a decent guy doesn’t get my vote in 2020.”

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The Pronk Pops Show 1223, March 8, 2019, Story 1: U-3 Unemployment Rate Declines To 3.8% With Labor Participation Rate of 63.2% — Total Non-farm Payroll Jobs Increased By 20,000 — Annual Wages Up 3.4% Best Post Recession — Videos — Story 2: House Votes To Give Illegal Aliens The Right To Vote — What is Next? — Citizenship For The 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States — American People Will Throw These Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) Out of Office For Betraying American Workers — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Needs A 2020 Fundamental Tax Reform Proposal To Get Up To A 4% Economic Growth Rate And Near Full Employment — FairTax or Better Yet Fair Tax Less — Time To Fire UP The Economic Engine of United States — Incentives Matter — Videos

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Story 1: U-3 Unemployment Rate Declines To 3.8% With Labor Participation Rate of 63.2% — Total Non-farm Payroll Jobs Increased By 20,000 — Annual Wages Up 3.4% Best Post Recession — Videos —

Take the February jobs report with a grain of salt: Economy experts

How Wall Street Views the U.S. February Jobs Report

U.S. Jobs Report Mainly a ‘Shutdown Effect,’ Economist Gapen Says

Take jobs report with grain of salt: Grant Thornton economist

February Jobs Report: U.S. Adds 20,000 Jobs, Below Expectations | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Understanding BLS Unemployment Statistics

 

Alternate Unemployment Charts

The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

 

Public Commentary on Unemployment

Unemployment Data Series   subcription required(Subscription required.)  View  Download Excel CSV File   Last Updated: March 8th, 2019

The ShadowStats Alternate Unemployment Rate for February 2019 is 21.1%.

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Economic News Release

U.S. adds meager 20,000 jobs in February to mark smallest increase in 17 months

Published: Mar 8, 2019 2:01 p.m. ET

Unemployment rate drops to 3.8% from 4%, wages grow faster

By JEFFRYBARTASH

REPORTER
Getty Images
The U.S. economy added just 20,000 new jobs in February after big gains in the prior two months, but the unemployment rate fell again and wages rose sharply.

The numbers: American businesses and other employers created the fewest new jobs in February in 17 months, the latest sign of a broader slowdown in the U.S. economy.

The economy added just 20,000 new jobs last month, the smallest gain since September 2017, the government said Friday.

The number of new nonfarm jobs created last month was well below the 172,000 MarketWatch forecast, but the slowdown was probably exaggerated by heavy snow and other seasonal oddities that are unlikely to persist. The U.S. has been adding more than 200,000 new jobs a month for the past year.

Hiring sputtered in February in construction, retail and shipping and was muted in most other industries.

The pace of hiring is still strong enough, however, to keep downward pressure on the nation’s unemployment rate, especially in a tight labor market in which good help is hard to find.

The jobless rate slipped to 3.8% from 4%, aided by the return of government workers after the end of the partial federal shutdown in January. Last year unemployment fell to a half-century low of 3.7%.

An ultra-tight labor market, what’s more, is forcing companies to offer better pay and benefits to attract or retain workers. The amount of money the average worker earns jumped 11 cents an hour to $27.66 last month.

The increase in pay in the past 12 months climbed to 3.4%, the biggest gain since the end of the last recession in 2009. While faster pay might spark fresh worries about inflation, so far there’s little sign that higher labor costs have done much if any harm.

Read: Fed’s pause now extends through September in wake of weak jobs report

What happened: The biggest dropoff in hiring in February took place in construction, where employment fell 31,000 after a 53,000 increase in January. The sharp swing in construction employment is likely evidence that government statisticians had trouble with seasonal adjustments.

A similarly large swing took place among hotels and restaurants, whose employment was flat in February after an outsized 89,000 increase in January that was the second largest in the past 20 years.

Retailers and shippers also cut jobs.

Hiring was strongest among professional firms and health-care companies. Professional firms created 42,000 new jobs and health providers added 21,000 jobs. Those have been the fastest growing industries through the nearly 10-year-old expansion.

Economists figure the U.S. needs to add about 100,000 jobs a month to absorb the number of people entering the labor force — immigrants, high school and college grads, moms or retirees going back to work. The labor force has been growing more slowly because of an aging population and tighter immigration restrictions, among other things.

Read: Trade deficit soars to 10-year high, foiling Trump White House efforts to rein it in

Also Read: Don’t blame oil for surging trade deficit – it’s all the other stuff Americans buy

Big picture: The U.S. is not growing as fast as it was last summer and companies might be more cautious about hiring, but the economy is not about to fall into a ditch despite what the February jobs report seems to indicate.

Read: ‘Don’t hit panic’ — economists say jobs report wasn’t as bad as it looked

A chief reason is the strong labor market: Wages are rising, unemployment and layoffs remain near a half-century low and job openings are at a record high.

So long as consumers are working and spending, companies are unlikely to see the kind of hiccup in sales that would force them to slash jobs. Their biggest worry right now is a slowing global economy that’s crimped exports, but if the U.S. and China strike a deal and end a damaging dispute over trade, it could go a long way in easing some of those worries.

Read: The rise of the robots and decline of inflation: How AI is keeping prices low

What they are saying: “Bizarre swings in the economic data have become routine since the end of the government shutdown and today was no exception,” said Thomas Simons, senior money market economist at Jefferies LLC. He said the 166,000 average of job gains in the first two months of 2019 are a more accurate reflection of underlying hiring trends.

“One poor report should not set off alarm bells, but given that the labor market is the linchpin for the entire economy, it does add to existing concerns and raises the stakes for next month’s report,” said Curt Long, chief economist at National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.09% and S&P 500SPX, -0.21% fell sharply in Friday trades.

The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.31% fell several basis points to 2.65%. Many loans such as mortgages and auto loans are tied to changes in the 10-year note, whose yield has fallen from a seven-year high of 3.23% in October.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-adds-meager-20000-jobs-in-february-to-mark-smallest-increase-in-17-months-2019-03-08

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until		USDL-19-0360
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, March 8, 2019

Technical information: 
 Household data:       (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data:   (202) 691-6555  *  cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:	       (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov
	

                   THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- FEBRUARY 2019


Total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in February (+20,000), and the
unemployment rate declined to 3.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Employment in professional and business services, health care, and
wholesale trade continued to trend up, while construction employment decreased.  

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.8 percent in February,
and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 300,000 to 6.2 million. Among the
unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs
(including people on temporary layoff) declined by 225,000. This decline reflects,
in part, the return of federal workers who were furloughed in January due to the
partial government shutdown. (See tables A-1 and A-11.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent),
Whites (3.3 percent), and Hispanics (4.3 percent) decreased in February. The jobless
rates for adult women (3.4 percent), teenagers (13.4 percent), Blacks (7.0 percent),
and Asians (3.1 percent) showed little or no change over the month. (See tables A-1,
A-2, and A-3.)

In February, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more)
was essentially unchanged at 1.3 million and accounted for 20.4 percent of the
unemployed. (See table A-12.) 

The labor force participation rate held at 63.2 percent in February and has changed
little over the year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.7 percent, was unchanged
over the month but was up by 0.3 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) decreased by 837,000 to 4.3 million in February.
This decline follows a sharp increase in January that may have resulted from the
partial federal government shutdown. (Persons employed part time for economic reasons
would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their
hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.) (See table A-8.)

In February, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, a
decrease of 178,000 from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These
individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had
looked for a job sometime in the last 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed
because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See
table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 428,000 discouraged workers in February,
little changed from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged
workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are
available for them. The remaining 1.0 million persons marginally attached to the
labor force in February had not searched for work for reasons such as school
attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)	

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment was little changed in February (+20,000), after
increasing by 311,000 in January. In 2018, job growth averaged 223,000 per month.
In February, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services,
health care, and wholesale trade, while construction employment declined. (See table
B-1.)

In February, employment in professional and business services continued to trend
up (+42,000), in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. 

Health care added 21,000 jobs in February and 361,000 jobs over the year. Employment
in ambulatory health care services edged up over the month (+16,000). 

In February, wholesale trade employment continued its upward trend (+11,000). The
industry has added 95,000 jobs over the year, largely among durable goods wholesalers. 

Employment in construction declined by 31,000 in February, partially offsetting an
increase of 53,000 in January. In February, employment declined in heavy and civil
engineering construction (-13,000). Over the year, construction has added 223,000 jobs.

Manufacturing employment changed little in February (+4,000), after increasing by an
average of 22,000 per month over the prior 12 months.

In February, employment in leisure and hospitality was unchanged, after posting job
gains of 89,000 and 65,000 in January and December, respectively. Over the year,
leisure and hospitality has added 410,000 jobs.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, retail trade, transportation
and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little
or no change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1
hour to 34.4 hours in February. In manufacturing, the average workweek declined 0.1
hour to 40.7 hours, while overtime was unchanged at 3.5 hours. The average workweek
for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls fell by 0.2
hour to 33.6 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
rose by 11 cents to $27.66, following a 2-cent gain in January. Over the year, average
hourly earnings have increased by 3.4 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector
production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 8 cents to $23.18 in February.
(See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised up from +222,000
to +227,000, and the change for January was revised up from +304,000 to +311,000. With
these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were 12,000 more than
previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from
businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the
recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 186,000
per month over the last 3 months. 

_____________
The Employment Situation for March is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 5, 2019,
at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).



The PDF version of the news release

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Supplemental Files Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: March 08, 2019

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]
Category Feb.
2018
Dec.
2018
Jan.
2019
Feb.
2019
Change from:
Jan.
2019-
Feb.
2019

Employment status

Civilian noninstitutional population

256,934 258,888 258,239 258,392 153

Civilian labor force

161,900 163,240 163,229 163,184 -45

Participation rate

63.0 63.1 63.2 63.2 0.0

Employed

155,213 156,945 156,694 156,949 255

Employment-population ratio

60.4 60.6 60.7 60.7 0.0

Unemployed

6,687 6,294 6,535 6,235 -300

Unemployment rate

4.1 3.9 4.0 3.8 -0.2

Not in labor force

95,033 95,649 95,010 95,208 198

Unemployment rates

Total, 16 years and over

4.1 3.9 4.0 3.8 -0.2

Adult men (20 years and over)

3.7 3.6 3.7 3.5 -0.2

Adult women (20 years and over)

3.8 3.5 3.6 3.4 -0.2

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

14.4 12.5 12.9 13.4 0.5

White

3.7 3.4 3.5 3.3 -0.2

Black or African American

6.8 6.6 6.8 7.0 0.2

Asian

3.0 3.3 3.1 3.1 0.0

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

4.9 4.4 4.9 4.3 -0.6

Total, 25 years and over

3.4 3.1 3.3 3.1 -0.2

Less than a high school diploma

5.6 5.8 5.7 5.3 -0.4

High school graduates, no college

4.4 3.8 3.8 3.8 0.0

Some college or associate degree

3.5 3.3 3.4 3.2 -0.2

Bachelor’s degree and higher

2.2 2.1 2.4 2.2 -0.2

Reason for unemployment

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

3,227 2,903 3,082 2,857 -225

Job leavers

784 839 805 840 35

Reentrants

1,954 1,958 1,945 1,905 -40

New entrants

703 588 606 623 17

Duration of unemployment

Less than 5 weeks

2,458 2,126 2,325 2,194 -131

5 to 14 weeks

1,900 2,027 2,013 1,810 -203

15 to 26 weeks

933 897 902 942 40

27 weeks and over

1,403 1,306 1,252 1,271 19

Employed persons at work part time

Part time for economic reasons

5,115 4,657 5,147 4,310 -837

Slack work or business conditions

3,293 2,891 3,451 2,792 -659

Could only find part-time work

1,537 1,496 1,419 1,347 -72

Part time for noneconomic reasons

21,120 21,234 20,949 21,153 204

Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)

Marginally attached to the labor force

1,602 1,556 1,614 1,424

Discouraged workers

373 375 426 428

– Over-the-month changes are not displayed for not seasonally adjusted data.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

 

Table A-2. Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex, and age

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Table A-2. Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex, and age
[Numbers in thousands]
Employment status, race, sex, and age Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted(1)
Feb.
2018
Jan.
2019
Feb.
2019
Feb.
2018
Oct.
2018
Nov.
2018
Dec.
2018
Jan.
2019
Feb.
2019

WHITE

Civilian noninstitutional population

199,799 200,382 200,447 199,799 200,596 200,690 200,774 200,382 200,447

Civilian labor force

125,658 125,516 126,102 125,862 126,100 126,334 126,680 126,351 126,313

Participation rate

62.9 62.6 62.9 63.0 62.9 63.0 63.1 63.1 63.0

Employed

120,646 120,542 121,628 121,241 121,923 122,036 122,318 121,880 122,168

Employment-population ratio

60.4 60.2 60.7 60.7 60.8 60.8 60.9 60.8 60.9

Unemployed

5,012 4,974 4,475 4,621 4,177 4,299 4,362 4,471 4,144

Unemployment rate

4.0 4.0 3.5 3.7 3.3 3.4 3.4 3.5 3.3

Not in labor force

74,141 74,866 74,345 73,937 74,496 74,355 74,094 74,030 74,134

Men, 20 years and over

Civilian labor force

65,802 65,684 65,925 65,887 65,771 65,961 66,110 66,051 66,052

Participation rate

72.0 71.6 71.8 72.1 71.6 71.8 71.9 72.0 72.0

Employed

63,185 63,112 63,636 63,651 63,785 63,960 64,046 63,890 64,088

Employment-population ratio

69.1 68.8 69.3 69.6 69.4 69.6 69.6 69.6 69.8

Unemployed

2,617 2,572 2,289 2,236 1,986 2,000 2,064 2,161 1,964

Unemployment rate

4.0 3.9 3.5 3.4 3.0 3.0 3.1 3.3 3.0

Women, 20 years and over

Civilian labor force

55,465 55,612 56,042 55,254 55,778 55,819 55,995 55,740 55,814

Participation rate

57.8 57.7 58.1 57.5 57.8 57.9 58.0 57.8 57.9

Employed

53,640 53,733 54,365 53,456 54,062 54,023 54,226 53,959 54,151

Employment-population ratio

55.9 55.8 56.4 55.7 56.1 56.0 56.2 56.0 56.2

Unemployed

1,825 1,879 1,677 1,798 1,716 1,796 1,769 1,781 1,663

Unemployment rate

3.3 3.4 3.0 3.3 3.1 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.0

Both sexes, 16 to 19 years

Civilian labor force

4,392 4,219 4,135 4,721 4,551 4,554 4,575 4,560 4,447

Participation rate

35.6 34.4 33.7 38.3 37.0 37.0 37.2 37.2 36.3

Employed

3,822 3,697 3,627 4,134 4,076 4,052 4,047 4,031 3,929

Employment-population ratio

31.0 30.1 29.6 33.5 33.1 32.9 32.9 32.9 32.0

Unemployed

570 523 508 587 476 502 528 530 518

Unemployment rate

13.0 12.4 12.3 12.4 10.5 11.0 11.6 11.6 11.6

BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN

Civilian noninstitutional population

32,607 32,868 32,897 32,607 32,887 32,923 32,956 32,868 32,897

Civilian labor force

20,360 20,549 20,441 20,518 20,564 20,451 20,460 20,628 20,575

Participation rate

62.4 62.5 62.1 62.9 62.5 62.1 62.1 62.8 62.5

Employed

18,928 19,033 18,944 19,118 19,290 19,232 19,107 19,220 19,137

Employment-population ratio

58.1 57.9 57.6 58.6 58.7 58.4 58.0 58.5 58.2

Unemployed

1,432 1,516 1,497 1,399 1,274 1,219 1,353 1,408 1,437

Unemployment rate

7.0 7.4 7.3 6.8 6.2 6.0 6.6 6.8 7.0

Not in labor force

12,246 12,318 12,457 12,089 12,323 12,472 12,496 12,240 12,322

Men, 20 years and over

Civilian labor force

9,339 9,320 9,333 9,448 9,400 9,310 9,284 9,367 9,414

Participation rate

68.5 67.6 67.6 69.3 68.2 67.4 67.2 67.9 68.2

Employed

8,744 8,584 8,595 8,889 8,814 8,771 8,709 8,705 8,734

Employment-population ratio

64.1 62.2 62.3 65.2 63.9 63.5 63.0 63.1 63.3

Unemployed

595 736 738 559 586 539 575 662 680

Unemployment rate

6.4 7.9 7.9 5.9 6.2 5.8 6.2 7.1 7.2

Women, 20 years and over

Civilian labor force

10,261 10,433 10,358 10,264 10,327 10,303 10,359 10,419 10,366

Participation rate

62.4 62.8 62.3 62.4 62.2 62.0 62.2 62.8 62.4

Employed

9,615 9,820 9,793 9,642 9,825 9,789 9,749 9,847 9,822

Employment-population ratio

58.4 59.2 58.9 58.6 59.2 58.9 58.6 59.3 59.1

Unemployed

646