The Muslim Brothers were also active in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The cornerstone of the Muslim Brotherhood is the system of essentially social activity, which they call Da'wah. In the twenty years preceding the Intifada, they built an impressive social, religious, educational and cultural infrastructure, which gave them a political stronghold, both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It was successful despite their lack of support for the nationalist policy of armed struggle.
A great part of the success of Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood is due to their influence in the Gaza Strip. The large numbers of refugees, the hardships of the population in the refugee camps and the relatively low status of the nationalist elements there until recently, enabled Hamas to deepen its roots among the refugees. Its emphasis on a solution that would include the liberation of all Palestine is more attractive to the Gazans. The focus of Hamas has always been slightly different to that of the PLO and has therefore attracted different people. The PLO has always focused on the struggle with Israel while Hamas has made much more of its actions in the daily life of the refugee camps and the situation there. Its popular support stems not from glorious dreams of liberation and theories but from its reputation for doing practical things and this has proven successful in attracting support among the refugees. Hamas challenged the PLO’s right to be the sole representation of the Palestinians in 1988 but did not call for the PLO’s destruction. Hamas then started to sue the mosques to increase its influence in the streets and quickly set up sections to deal with different activities and areas much like a terrorist cell system using encoded messages between sections
At the beginning of 1991 the head of the terrorist section of the Hamas in Gaza, set up the first squads of the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Battalions. In its first stages these terrorist squads kidnapped and executed people suspected of cooperation with Israel. In December 1991, these terror squads committed their first murder of an Israeli citizen marking a change in Hamas’s modus operandi. Hamas sees the liberation of all of Palestine as a personal religious duty for every Muslim. At the same time, it utterly rejects any political arrangement that would entail the relinquishment of any part of Palestine, which for it is tantamount to a surrender of part of Islam. The central goal of Hamas is the establishment of an Islamic state in all of Palestine. The immediate means to achieve this goal is the escalation of the armed struggle, and ultimately all-out Jihad, with the participation not only of Palestinian Muslims but also of the entire Islamic world.
The term generally used by Hamas to define its overt activity is Da'wah. This term is also the name given to the Hamas section whose function is to broaden the movement's infrastructure, to distribute funds and make appointments. In fact, there is a large degree of overlapping (if not total identity) between the two.
Thus, Hamas is an organization composed of several interdependent levels. The popular-social base is maintained materially by the charity committees and ideologically through instruction, propaganda and incitement delivered in the mosques and other institutions and through leaflets. This base is the source for the recruitment of members into the units, which engage in riots and popular violence.
A broad network of charity associations (Jamayath Hiriya) and committees (Lejan Zekath) operates in the Territories, on the basis of two Jordanian statutes: the Charity Association and Social Institutions Law, and the Charity Fund-Raising Regulations. Hamas makes extensive use of many of these charity associations and committees, which (together with the mosques, unions, etc.) also serve as the overt facade of the organization's activity, operating parallel to and serving its covert operations. The movement's ideology attributes great importance to the giving of charity (zekath, which is also one of the five basic principles of Islam). Giving charity can serve to bring the people closer to Islam and, as a result, to broaden the ranks of Hamas. Of course Hamas like most terrorist organisations uses the charities as a cover for some of its covert activities as well. Estimating how much money Hamas is getting is of course incredibly difficult but is thought to be into the tens of millions of US dollars a year with an estimated $3 million coming from Iran’s government whether this source of funding will start to dry up under International and US pressure is difficult to tell. There are four central Hamas charity funds in the West: Great Britain - The Palestine Relief and Development Fund (Interpal); U.S.A. - the Holy Land Foundation; Germany - the Al Aqsa Foundation, with branches in Belgium and Holland; France - Comite de Bienfaisance et Solidarite avec la Palestine of course not all the funds from these organization would go to fund terrorism but as explained earlier any practical help Hamas provides within the refugee camps strengthens its popular support. Terrorist attacks and the uncovering of Hamas' financial apparatus have led Western intelligence organisations to begin monitoring its funding activity. Several countries (principally the U.S. and Great Britain) have announced their intent to frustrate Hamas fundraising efforts. In the U.S. - a legislation package intended to hinder fundraising for terrorist organisations within U.S. territory has been put into place The US government has yet to exercise its power to act against these organisations. In Britain - Records of the Interpal relief foundation were examined, but "no concrete information was found linking it to terror organisations." It must be noted that the only material examined was that which the foundation itself submitted to the authorities.
Hamas’ terrorist activities have included stabbings, bombings and fire bombings during the early stages of the struggle, by the 1990’s they had progressed onto car bombs and kidnapping and in 1995 they carried out a joint bombing with Islamic Jihad which resulted in the deaths of 18 Israeli soldiers. In the same year the organization also began suicide bombings. This began to set a pattern and suicide bombings became more common including July 30, 1997 where 13 people were killed and 170 wounded in two consecutive suicide bombings in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem. Hamas has now become associated with violent suicide bombings and murders as the PLO’s power declines and it becomes more locked into negotiations with the Israelis Hamas power among the disillusioned radical elements of the refugee camps can only grow. With the death of Yasser Arafat the PLO has a void in leadership, which Hamas will be quick to exploit.