Fighting to Stay in Politics - Hamas and Its Dual Resistance strategy

Stream: Panel 48 - International Relations: Security and Violence by Non-state Actors 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 4.00 pm – 5.30 pm


The Inclusion Moderation (IM) analytical framework views to use of violence by non-state actors seeking entry into the political system as the antithesis of politically moderate behaviour. The corpus generally assumes that these actors are using violence in an anti-systemic and/or anti-democratic manner. It is for this reason that governments mandate that non-state actors renounce the use of violence and disband any militarised wings as essential pre-conditions for entry into the political system. This was not the case with the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas. It was permitted to retain its military wing and participate in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections. Hamas’s subsequent election victory made it a politically legitimate actor in Palestinian politics. Since this election victory, Hamas and Israel have engaged in three wars, with the Israeli government continuing to classify Hamas’s use of violence as a threat to the safety and security of the Israeli state. To account for this apparent anomaly, this paper argues that Hamas has employed a Dual Resistance Strategy (DRS) consisting of Political and Armed Resistance to achieve, maintain and defend its status as a legitimate political actor. Analysing the 2008, 2012 and 2014 Israeli invasions of Gaza, the paper seeks to demonstrate how Hamas is able to transmute the increase in its resistance legitimacy gained after each War, into increased political authority in Gaza, thereby remaining a viable political actor in Palestinian politics.


Martin Kear (Presenter), University of Sydney
Martin is a PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney. He recently submitted his thesis titled ‘Is This the Way to Palestine? Hamas and the Contested Road to Statehood’ for examination. The thesis critically examined causation of the shifts in Hamas’s political behaviour between 2005 and 2015. The thesis argued that Hamas used a DRS to maintain its status as a legitimate actor in Palestinian politics. One of the key findings of the thesis was that through the use of the dual resistance strategy the continued use of violence by Hamas did not necessarily preclude its progression along moderation continuum.