Hamas acquired the status of a terrorist organisation because of the suicide attacks carried out inside Israel during the 1990s and early 2000s, and Israel has never recognised its legitimacy as a partner towards peace. This has proven problematic since 2006, when Hamas won a decisive majority Fatah in the Palestinian parliament.
The international community, having designated Hamas a terrorist organisation, suspended financial aid to the Palestinians on the condition that Hamas must cease violent resistance and recognise Israel. Hamas refused. In 2007 a struggle ensued between the two main wings of Palestinian political power, and Hamas brutally and violently ousted the more moderate Fatah from power in Gaza. This resulted in Egypt and Israel’s economic blockade of the Gaza strip. Hamas was meanwhile ousted from the West Bank.
In the last couple of years Hamas has grudgingly started to modify its output and check its vehemently anti-Israel, anti-Semitic rhetoric, perhaps with a view to gaining more legitimacy in the eyes of the international community. In the most recent conflict in summer 2014 Hamas’ leader-in-exile Mashaal promised that the military wing of his organisation was chiefly targeting Israeli soldiers and military bases, despite the daily rocket fire appearing to be aimed indiscriminately at cities including Tel Aviv. Hamas claimed that civilians were only being targeted by accident, and that this would not occur if Hamas possessed more accurate rockets.