Hamas: A Community Of Gazan Intellectuals? – OpEd


By White Mountain

I support Israel in the current Israel-Hamas war, but that does not imply any hatred toward Palestinians. Analysis should always be an objective and scientific endeavor. In fact, I have great admiration for the intellectual community in Gaza. I even consider the “Gaza intellectuals” who advocate for Palestinian rights as not just a community but a source of honor.

Within the realm of “Gaza intellectuals”, it is crucial to know about some of these prominent figures. One of the most important of such personalities is the imam Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin. Yassin, a lifelong individual with disabilities reliant on a wheelchair, assumes a pivotal role as one of the founding members of Hamas. He emerges as a significant Palestinian intellectual, embodying a symbolic resonance akin to India’s Mahatma Gandhi, despite their fundamentally disparate ideological underpinnings. This juxtaposition highlights the complex interplay of ideological orientations within the context of political movements and intellectual discourse.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), at times considered to be associated with terrorism, was founded by a Gazan named Fathi Shaqaqi. Shaqaqi pursued his education in Egypt and tragically met his demise through an assassination orchestrated by Mossad agents in 1995. In addition, Abd Al Aziz Awda, a Gaza-based university professor, assumed the role of the spiritual leader within the PIJ.

Ismail Haniyeh, a Palestinian politician, was born in Gaza and graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza with a degree in Arabic literature. Within the confines of this institution, known for its pronounced religious radicalism, he became an active participant in student movements. He currently holds a senior leadership position within the Hamas organization and is responsible for fundraising efforts abroad.

Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, born in southern Gaza, pursued his education in Egypt and attained a doctoral degree in medicine, reaching the prestigious rank of a senior medical doctor. He was also one of the founders of Hamas and, at one point, was responsible for leading and developing the armed forces of the organization. Tragically, he fell victim to an Israeli Air Force attack in 2004.

Anyone familiar with and understanding the Hamas Charter will be aware that both the Hamas organization and the Palestinian people approach this charter with caution. There have been several attempts to amend this so-called “piece of history”, but upon repeated examination and careful consideration, it has ultimately been left unaltered. This approach is rooted in a manifest philosophical ethos.

It’s important to recognize that members and fighters within the Hamas organization are not primarily composed of laborers or peasants as one might imagine in historical communist movements like those led by Lenin and Stalin. Hamas is far from being a group of uneducated people; they are an intellectual community, primarily consisting of young intelligentsia. These individuals are typically university students, possibly specializing in fields such as electronic engineering.

Having provided these examples here, there is still more to consider. However, it is my belief that we have ample evidence to reach a conclusion: The purported conflict between Israel and Palestine is, in fact, a tenacious struggle led by the resolute “Gaza intellectuals” against the entirety of the Israeli state. This persisting, asymmetric conflict, devoid of a discernible victor thus far, has engendered novel perspectives and insights into the role of intellectuals in the contemporary era.


Anbound Consulting (Anbound) is an independent Think Tank with the headquarter based in Beijing. Established in 1993, Anbound specializes in public policy research, and enjoys a professional reputation in the areas of strategic forecasting, policy solutions and risk analysis. Anbound's research findings are widely recognized and create a deep interest within public media, academics and experts who are also providing consulting service to the State Council of China.

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