HAMAS through a Constructivist Lens
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This monograph is an examination of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement HAMAS. It describes the international relations theory of constructivism, which is focused on the role of normative structure in the actions of a state. Normative structure consists of behavioral norms and identity. Liberal and realist theoretical frameworks cannot adequately explain the fact that HAMAS continues to behave like a resistance movement despite the fact that the 2006 Legislative Election has provided it with an avenue for change. The Constructivist approach points to an examination ofthe groups normative structure in order to provide explanation. The normative structure of HAMAS is first codified in the Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement. It is later reinforced during the First and Second al-Aqsa Intifadas. The 2006 election of HAMAS to a parliamentary majority should have been a transformative event for the organization. Instead both regional and international actors enacted policies that reinforced norms and identity consistent with a resistance movement. It has also shielded HAMAS from domestic accountability. The monograph recommends that the international community pressure the Palestinian National Authority to return to a unity government arrangement with HAMAS, Israel end its embargo of Gaza, and that Israel accept HAMAS offer of a temporary cease fire. This policy is more likely to either cause HAMAS to modify its norms and behaviors or allow it to fail due to its own inadequacies.
- Government and Political Science