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on 15 June 2011
This is an excellent account of the rise and politics of Hamas and the history of 'Islamism' in Palestine.

It's well written in a snappy journalistic style, which I assume the book owes to Michael Farrell, which makes for a good read.

The authors try, and in my opinion succeed, in taking a neutral stance towards Hamas and present evidence in a fashion to enable the reader to make his/her own judgements.

Controversial topics are dealt with fairly and sensitively. 'Suicide'/'martyr' missions are a case in point, the authors showing how they fit into the conflict and give space to Hamas' rationalisation of the tactic which compensates for the relative absence of such views in mainstream media.

The Hamas takeover of Gaza wasn't as strongly dealt with, in my opinion, although, again, enough balanced information is there for the reader to decide.

The issue of Qassem rockets and the Israeli blockade is well balanced although more information on the effects of the blockade on civilians would have been appreciated.

The main new thing that I learned was that Israel did favour Hamas in it's early guises as part of an attempt to divide the Palestinian camp.

The overall picture one is left with is that Hamas, with it's roots back in the revolt of Izz al Din al Qassem back in the 1930's, is completely embedded in the Palestinian resistance and is not going to disappear any time soon.
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on 12 June 2015
This book tries to be factual and unbiased but the orientalist and and anti-arab leanings of its authors keep seeping out of the pages:
Palestinian political figures- other than the compliant ones or those who are collaborators- are variously described as rabble-rousers, or hard-line and what they say is depicted as somehow not to be taken at face value. In contrast, the views of Israeli politicians and military/security officials are quoted with reverence and reproduced without significant challenge. For example, the authors invite us to see Ariel Sharon through quotes from Israeli officials ( and only Israeli officials are quoted of course) as being a brilliant short term tactician but not a strategic thinker ! This for the person who oversaw the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian women and children in Lebanon ,and the very same person whose deliberately provocative actions sparked the Second Intifada ( with all the death and destruction that followed.)
The authors' orientalism is most obviously blatant when describing one particular suicide bombing in which Israeli civilians are killed. That particular bombing is mentioned over and over again in the text in different chapters with graphic descriptions of the destruction and accounts of the activity of the victims in that place on that day ; in contrast the tens of Palestinians worshippers killed by an Israeli in the Ibrahim mosque in Hebron are mentioned only as statistics.
The authors inability to understand the values of other societies is very apparent when they try to look at the issue of women and Hamas or martyrdom. On women, the authors become fixated on the hijab ,lipstick, hairstyles and make-up as the yard-stick against which to examine and judge the position and roles of women in society!
Is it worth reading the book? Probably- but hold your nose for the frequent whiff of anti-arabism.
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on 3 May 2012
the book offers the best written avccount on Hamas that goes from their political ideology, their inside and outside striggle, their tactics, and so on.... there is even a chapter dedicated to women and their participation to the struggle in the form of suicide bombers. it is a real starting point of engagement with the movement and its wrighting flows.
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on 11 January 2011
Really competitively priced book, fast delivery, good quality.
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on 26 March 2010
This was possibly the most enlightening book I have read in my lifetime! It lifted the veil on what I previously perceived as a complex political situation. It is written in straightforward, no nonsense style and is a true page turner.
I am so thrilled I took the time to read this book and must pass on my most sincere congratulations to the writers.Hamas: The Islamic Resistance Movement
I recommend it whole heartedly to anyone and everyone in search of a deeper knowledge of "Hamas".
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