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Hamas: Isolated, Contained, But Not Co-opted?

Hamas was not only besieged in Gaza but also politically isolated and delegitimized. This isolation has paved the way for Hamas’s rule in Gaza to develop more organically, as Brenner’s details in his book. Hamas utilized formal and informal governing mechanisms, blurring the boundaries between its partisan politics and the governing of Gaza, thereby falling into the same trap of Fatah, which embodied the PLO, and later the Palestinian Authority (PA). The logic of power consolidation that Hamas followed in Gaza, and its commitment to govern and provide services to almost two million Palestinians under blockade, force Hamas to become more pragmatic and less spoiling in its regional politics (as in the case of its policy towards Egypt), as well as in its encounters with Israel. Hamas became more careful in maintaining ceasefires, and willing to sell ‘stability’ as political good; Baconi brilliantly unpacks these dynamics.

Hamas Isolated Contained But Not Co-opted




Decolonizing Palestine, Hamas between the Anticolonial and the Postcolonial


By Somdeep Sen

Cornell University Press, 2020, 171 pages, $25.95, ISBN: 9781501752742



Hamas Contained, The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance


By Tareq Baconi

Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018, 336 pages, $24.00, ISBN: 9780804797412



Gaza under Hamas, from Islamic Democracy to Islamist Governance


By Björn Brenner

London-New York: I.B. Tauris and Co. Ltd, 2017, 252 pages, $27.85, ISBN: 9781784537777




These three books analyze the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and thus, add to previous related literature.1 While the three books give historical background on the emergence and roots of Hamas and contextualize its role in the broader Palestinian politics and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, their main focus is the period of post-2006 and Hamas’s rule in the Gaza Strip. The books take 2006 as a turning point for Hamas, in which Hamas succeeded in achieving a decisive victory in the Palestinian legislative election, changing its engagement with politics from being in opposition to being in power. This shift in Hamas’s role from being a ‘resistance movement’ to becoming a ‘ruling authority’ was advanced in 2007 when Hamas took over Gaza Strip

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