How Does Hamas Treat the Palestinian People?

Many people consider Hamas to be a freedom-fighting force courageously opposing oppression and liberating the Palestinian people. As a result, they assume that being pro-Palestinian means being pro-Hamas.

In reality, Hamas shows little care about the wellbeing of the Palestinian people. Hamas skirts its responsibility as the Palestinians’ elected government to protect and provide for the people. Instead, Hamas uses the Palestinian people as human shields and political pawns; they steal humanitarian aid intended for the people, inducing mass poverty, while Hamas leadership lives lavishly in places like Qatar and Turkey. Advocating for Palestinian people should include advocating for the removal of Hamas.

Let’s look at how Hamas treats the Palestinian people ruthlessly, corruptly, and criminally.

Hamas Uses Palestinians As Human Shields

Peer-reviewed military literature documents Hamas’ use of Palestinian civilians as human shields. Amnon Rubinstein notes,

“In recent years, facing superior adversaries, terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah, Taliban, and Hamas, have also adopted the human shields tactic. The use of civilians as human shields, as a leader of Hamas had previously confirmed, is an essential tactic of Hamas in its armed confrontations with Israel.”1

In 2008, Hamas MP Fathi Hammad proudly admitted Hamas’ use of Palestinian civilians as human shields:

“For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘We desire death like you desire life.’”2

Hamas still uses this tactic today by building military operation centers and rocket launch sites under, near, or on top of vulnerable civilian buildings, such as, hospitals, mosques, and schools.3 American intelligence acknowledges that Hamas used Al-Shifa Hospital as a command center,4 and CNN reported seeing tunnels leading from underground into the Al-Shifa campus.5

Hamas also instructs Palestinians to ignore Israel’s warnings to flee from coming airstrikes. For example, when Israel called phones and dropped thousands of leaflets in Arabic warning civilians to leave northern Gaza, Hamas tried to keep civilians from leaving. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) shared audio of Gazans explaining to them that Hamas took IDs and car keys from those trying to flee northern Gaza, and images have been released of blockades across roads needed to flee south.6

Hamas Uses Palestinians as Political Pawns

Hamas’ use of the Palestinian people as human shields contributes to a broader political strategy. Famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz explains,

The Hezbollah and Hamas provocations against Israel demonstrate how terrorists can exploit human rights and the media in their attacks on democracies. By hiding behind their own civilians, the Islamic radicals issue a challenge to democracies: Either violate your own morality by coming after us and inevitably killing some innocent civilians, or maintain your morality and leave us with a free hand to target your innocent civilians. This challenge presents democracies such as Israel with a lose-lose option and terrorists with a win-win option.7

According to Richard Rosen, law professor at Texas Tech University, this strategy has proven effective in influencing the global perception of what is happening between Israel and Hamas,

Hamas sought to achieve its objectives in Gaza by killing ‘as many Israeli civilians as possible by firing rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilian targets, and [by] [provoking] Israel to kill as many Palestinian civilians as possible to garner world sympathy.’ An early assessment of the international community’s reaction to the Israel–Hamas conflict demonstrates the soundness of Hamas’s strategy and bodes ill for the protection of civilians in future armed conflicts.8

When asked by a reporter why Hamas didn’t build bomb shelters for the Palestinian people when they built over 300 miles of tunnels underneath Gaza for Hamas militants, Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk said,

We have built the tunnels because we have no other way of protecting ourselves from being targeted and killed. These tunnels are meant to protect us from the airplanes. We are fighting from inside the tunnels. Everybody knows that 75 percent of the people in the Gaza Strip are refugees, and it is the responsibility of the United Nations to protect them. According to the Geneva Convention, it is the responsibility of the occupation [i.e. Israel] to provide them with all the services as long as they are under occupation.9

Mousa here denied any responsibility to care for the Palestinian people. Mousa admitted that Hamas has no interest in protecting the Palestinian people, even when they are capable of doing so. Instead, he openly admitted that the underground infrastructure is not for the people and uses their plight to score political points against the UN and Israel.

Hamas Steals Aid From Palestinians

While more than 80 percent of Gazans live in poverty, Hamas steals aid intended for them and Hamas leadership lives in opulence abroad.

The United Nations has reported that Hamas has commandeered aid and supplies meant for Palestinian refugees. In 2009, the New York Times reported Hamas police forcefully “confiscated about 3,500 blankets and more than 400 food parcels meant to help hundreds of families in the Gaza City Beach Camp” provided by the UN. In the article, Peter Lerner, an Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman, claimed Israel was “aware of numerous incidents” when Hamas stole aid being sent from Egypt and Jordan “sometimes at gunpoint.”10

These are aid trucks that Israel allows to travel through Israel and across the Gaza border in order to help suffering Palestinians. However, Hamas terrorists commonly take the aid for themselves and for their military operations.

While they steal from the Palestinian people and use them as human shields, Hamas leadership and their families travel and live abroad in luxury. For example, Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of Palestinian Autonomy in Gaza, lives in Doha, Qatar (more than 1,000 miles from Gaza),11 while he preaches online that Hamas needs “the blood of the [Palestinian] women, children, and elderly” because it “awakens within us the revolutionary spirit.”12

Fathi Hamad (quoted above regarding using Palestinians as human shields) used to live in northern Gaza, directing terror attacks against Israel. Now he lives in Istanbul, Turkey, away from the conflict.13

If your heart is for justice and freedom in Gaza and the West Bank, your prayer and cry should be to remove Hamas from leadership and to replace them with leadership that genuinely cares for the Palestinian people –– and a leadership that also rejects an agenda to destroy Jewish lives.


  1. Amnon Rubinstein and Yaniv Roznai, “Human Shields in Modern Armed Conflicts: The Need for a Proportionate Proportionality Symposium: Defense Policy,” Stanford Law & Policy Review 22, no. 1 (2011): 97–98.
  2. Richard D Rosen, “Targeting Enemy Forces in the War on Terror: Preserving Civilian Immunity” 42 (n.d.): 766, ft. 487.
  3. Terrence McCoy, “Why Hamas Stores Its Weapons inside Hospitals, Mosques and Schools,” Washington Post, October 26, 2021,
  4. Jake Tapper, “Hamas Has Command Node under Al-Shifa Hospital, US Official Says | CNN Politics,” CNN, November 13, 2023,
  5. Oren Liebermann and CNN, “CNN Visited the Exposed Tunnel Shaft in the Al-Shifa Hospital Compound. Here’s What We Saw,” CNN, November 20, 2023,
  6. “Don’t Look Away, Media: Hamas Roadblocks Reflect An Old Story,” CAMERA (blog), accessed November 29, 2023,; “תושב עזה לקצין ב-504: ‘חמאס מחרים לנו ציוד אישי ומפתחות רכב,’” mako, October 15, 2023,
  7. Quoted in Rosen, 760–61, ft. 458.
  8. Rosen, 769.
  9. “Hamas Official Mousa Abu Marzouk: The Tunnels In Gaza Were Built To Protect Hamas Fighters, Not Civilians; Protecting Gaza Civilians Is The Responsibility Of The U.N. And Israel,” MEMRI, accessed November 29, 2023,
  10. Isabel Kershner and Taghreed El-Khodary, “UN Says Hamas Stole Aid Intended for Gazans,” The New York Times, February 4, 2009, sec. World,
  11. BKW, “The Hamas Leader Lives a Luxurious Life in Qatar. The Gaza Strip? Not for Him,” 1697631780,
  12. “Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh: We Need The Blood Of Women, Children, And The Elderly Of Gaza – So It Awakens Our Revolutionary Spirit,” MEMRI, accessed November 29, 2023,
  13. AP and TOI STAFF, “As Young Gazans Die at Sea, Anger Rises over Hamas Leaders’ Extended Sojourns Abroad,” accessed November 29, 2023,