Fatah vs Hamas: Difference and Comparison

Due to several historical narratives, on May 14, 1948, the state of Israel was founded. Palestinians consider Israel as their land invader.

With the time, Palestinian land was started absorbing due to expanding of Israel territory. As a result, the situation gets worse.  

The main political forces, namely Fatah and Hamas, emerged in the movement for Palestinian liberation.

They both are still relevant and tries to establish a unity government. There are several distinctions between Fatah and Hamas. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Fatah is a nationalist political party that aims to establish a Palestinian state through diplomatic means. At the same time, Hamas is an Islamist political party that advocates for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state through violence.
  2. Fatah was founded in 1959 and is recognized as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by the international community, while Hamas was founded in 1987 and is designated as a terrorist organization by several countries.
  3. Fatah controls the Palestinian Authority and has engaged in peace negotiations with Israel, while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and has been involved in several conflicts with Israel.

Fatah vs Hamas 

The difference between Fatah and Hamas is their ideologies. Fatah recognized Israel and wanted to build a state on Borders in 1967. On the other hand, in 1967, Hamas accepted the Palestinian state but had not recognized Israel. Social democracy, the two-state solution, Palestinian nationalism, and secularism are the ideologies of Fatah. But the ideologies of Hamas are Islamism, anti-Zionism, religion, and antisemitism. 

Fatah vs Hamas

The full name of Fatah is Harakat al-Tahir al-Filistiniya which means Palestinian Liberation Movement. Fatah is the reverse acronym of its full name.

In the late 1950s, Fatah was created to liberate Palestine through violent and armed struggles from Israelis.  

The full name of Hamas is Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya which means Islamic resistance movement. It is an extremist party, but Israel considers it a terrorist organization.

The goal of this party is to destruct Israel and create an Islamic state. It was preceded by the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFatahHamas
ChairmanMahmoud AbbasIsmail Haniyeh
Founded1959 (as a political movement)
1965 (as a political party)
In 1987
HeadquarterRamallah, West BankGazza, Gazza Strip
Legislative council45/13274/132

What is Fatah? 

Formerly, the Fatah was known as Palestinian National Liberation Movement. It is a political party, namely the Palestinian nationalist Social Democratic political party.

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It is the second-largest party in PLC or the Palestinian Legislative Council. The president of the Palestinian Authority, namely Mahmoud Abbas is also a member of Fatah.

The slogan of this group is “Ya Jabal Ma yhezak Reeh”. It simply means, “The winds cannot shake the mountain”.

In the past, Fatah had a strong involvement in the struggle for resolution and has maintained several militant groups.

It was identified with Yasser Arafat, a founder of this movement/political party and worked as a chairman until his death (2004).  

Farouk Kaddoumi succeeded him constitutionally to the position of chairman of Fatah. He continued his position until the year 2009 and was succeeded by Abbas.

Since Arafat’s death, it is more obvious to see factionalism within the diverse ideological movement. The location for its headquarter is at Gazza, Gazza Strip.

In the election of the PLC conducted in 2006, Fatah lost the majority to Hamas. As a result, conflict arose between Fatah and Hamas.

Fatah maintains authority over the Palestinian National Authority (West Bank) and is also active in the control of Palestinian refugee camps.

When it comes to a political position, Fatah is from centre-left to left-wing.

What is Hamas? 

Hamas is a militant, nationalist, and Palestinian Sunni Islamic fundamentalist organization. Dawah is its social service wing, whereas Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades is its military wing.

From the Hamas foundation, it rejected negotiations that might cede any land. The national affiliation is an alliance of Palestinian forces, whereas the international affiliation is Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2006, it won the election of the Palestinian legislative. In 2007, the battle of Gazza was fought, and it became the governing authority of its strip, namely the Gazza strip.

Hasam also holds the majority of the Palestinian national authority’s parliament. Sunni Islam is the religion of Hamas. 

Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Canada, Israel, the United States, Japan, and European Union. Hamas leaders are based in Qatar, namely Khaleed Mashaal and Islami Haniyeh.

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In 2018, the United States resolution condemned it as a terrorist organization, but United Nations General Assembly rejected the resolution of the United States.  

There were several wars in which Israel and Hamas were engaged with varying intensity. The military wing of Hamas has launched attacks against soldiers and civilians of Israel.

And described them as retaliation, especially for the assassinations. The peace agreement of 1993 was signed between Israel and PLO.

But this agreement was denounced by the Islamic Jihad groups who used suicide bombers for the intensified terror campaign. 

Main Differences Between Fatah and Hamas 

  1. In terms of objectives, Fatah recognized Israel and wanted to build a state on Borders in 1967, while in 1967, Hamas accepted the Palestinian state but had not recognized Israel.  
  2. The ideologies of Fatah are a social democracy, a two-state solution, Palestinian nationalism, and secularism, whereas Islamism, anti-Zionism, religion and antisemitism are the ideologies of Hamas.  
  3. The founders of Fatah are Salah Khalaf, Yasser Arafat, Khalil al-Wazir, and Khaled Yashruti. On the other hand, the founders of Hamas are Hassan Yousef, Mahmoud Zahar, Ibrahim Quba, Mohammad Taha, and many more.  
  4. When it comes to affiliation, Fatah has PLO (national affiliation), the party of European socialist (European affiliation), and progressive alliances socialist international (international affiliation). But Hamas has an alliance of Palestinian forces (national affiliation) and the Muslim Brotherhood (international affiliation).  
  5. Fatah has a negotiation strategy towards Israel. On the flip side, Hamas has an armed resistance strategy towards Israel. 
Difference Between Fatah and Hamas
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=iql0aaCvTIwC&oi=fnd&pg=PP11&dq=fatah&ots=EPf47Wggmv&sig=cPwLMLFyntx4ESd5uXPc-vjdiW8
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=-XsW4-8VVJ4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=hamas&ots=QjHrdo-A1J&sig=PNZ_405mv5TJuimmCnQWAYIuW1k

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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12 thoughts on “Fatah vs Hamas: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The distinction between Fatah and Hamas and their pursuit of a Palestinian state through diplomatic or violent means is a crucial point of divergence.

    • The historical and cultural roots of Fatah and Hamas reflect the complexities of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

    • The involvement of the international community in recognizing Fatah and designating Hamas as a terrorist organization has had significant implications for the region’s political landscape.

  2. The differing ideologies and objectives of Fatah and Hamas have led to complex challenges in their efforts to establish a unified Palestinian state.

  3. The militant and fundamentalist nature of Hamas, juxtaposed with the social democratic and secular ideologies of Fatah, epitomizes the complexity of the Palestinian political landscape.

  4. The historical context and political dynamics between Fatah and Hamas are crucial to understanding the ongoing conflict in the region.

  5. The comparison table between Fatah and Hamas provides valuable insights into their structural and legislative differences, shedding light on their distinct approaches to governance.

  6. The history and evolution of Fatah’s political leadership underscore the enduring legacy of Yasser Arafat and the transformative impact of his leadership on the Palestinian nationalist movement.

  7. The international recognition of Fatah as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization highlights the global ramifications of the Palestinian struggle for statehood.

    • The impact of external actors and geopolitical alliances on the conflict between Fatah and Hamas has profound implications for the future trajectory of the Palestinian statehood movement.

  8. The contrasting approaches of Fatah and Hamas towards negotiations with Israel reflect the divergent paths pursued in seeking a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    • The role of religious and nationalist ideologies in shaping the strategies of Fatah and Hamas underscores the multifaceted nature of the region’s political dynamics.


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