Anyone with a serious interest in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will be familiar with the oft-cited Charter (or Covenant [mithaq]) of the terrorist group currently ruling the Gaza Strip, Hamas. The Charter (in Arabic here) was published on 18 August 1988. Its proper title is “The Charter/Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement ‘Hamas’ Palestine”, Hamas being an acronym for “the Islamic Resistance Movement”.
This April, the Lebanese news site al-Mayadeen leaked a draft version of a much-revised version of the 1988 Charter, due to be released “in the coming days”. The anti-Israel website Mondoweiss subsequently provided an English translation of the draft, made by someone from the Ayda refugee camp in the West Bank. So far, I have been unable to find the Arabic text of the draft online, even though it has been discussed many times in the wider Arabic media. We shall turn to it later, but it is obviously sensible to look first at the 1988 version as a basis of comparison. And even before that, we need to see how the Hamas Covenant differed from, and resembled, the PLO Covenants of 1964 and 1968.