What is Hamas’s economic thinking?

  March 28, 2022   Read time 2 min
What is Hamas’s economic thinking?
Hamas has no distinct economic thinking or national program that is any different from the ‘free-market’ basis that used to be the foundation of the Palestinian economy.

This economy has been functioning for years according to capitalist norms, although it is weak and fragile, because of crippling Israeli limitations and control. Unlike the Palestinian leftists, whose strong stamp of socialism colours their economic thinking, Hamas puts forth no particular economic ideology. Hamas as a party has hardly offered an integral vision of a so-called ‘Islamic economy’, which is sometimes referred to by individual Hamas figures.

By and large, the movement is content with the capitalist mode of economy which is based on free enterprise. It subscribes to the widespread belief within the circles of Islamist movements that Islam encourages free enterprise and enshrines the right to hold individual property. Therefore, the very basics of any ‘Islamic economy’ are close enough to the underlying tenets of capitalism. Yet the morality of such an ‘Islamic economy’ is closer to socialism. Many religious notions, such as a deep interest in justice and equality, obligatory systems of helping the poor, curbing monopolies and the prohibition of the unfair accumulation of fortunes, all echo the essences of socialist thought.

In practice, Hamas membership includes merchants, businesspeople and the rich as well as the middle class and poor. The well-off members have always been looked on with respect and admiration because of their continuous donations to the movement. Outside Palestine, rich Muslim businesspeople in the Gulf countries and other Muslim places represent the main source of Hamas’s funding. Therefore, Hamas’s experience of ‘capitalism’ and ‘capitalist’ people is somewhat positive. In recent years, however, there has been scattered criticism of the international economy and the monopolies of globalization, but these appear only in the margins of discussions of other major issues, such as the global hegemony of the United States.

In its attempt to secure a confidence vote from the Palestinian parliament in March 2006, the governing Hamas statement showed perhaps too much eagerness to emphasize its interest in encouraging foreign investors to come to Palestine and explore economic opportunities. Hamas vowed that: it would build the economic institutions of the country on foundations that will attract investment, raise the rates of growth, prevent monopoly and exploitation, protect workers, encourage manufacturing, increase exports, develop trade with the Arab countries and the world in general, and in ways that serve our Palestinian interests and strengthen our self capacities, by issuing laws that are appropriate for all of this.

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