Hamas headband and toy gun on Temple Mount
Hamas headband and toy gun on Temple MountFlash 90

While it may reject Israel’s existence, Hamas certainly agrees with Prime MInister Binyamin Netanyahu - and disagrees with the US State Department - that its “ultimate goal” is to establish an “Islamic state” (caliphate) over what it sees as the “occupied lands of Palestine.”

In short, while the US disputes PM Netanyahu’s statement that “Hamas is ISIS, and ISIS is Hamas” – Hamas itself does not.

China Weekly reported that, on Tuesday, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said in a ceremony to honor police officers killed in the latest Gaza operation that "we don't want to establish an Islamic emirate in Gaza; we want an Islamic state in all Palestine."

Al-Zahar added that if Hamas could insert some of its military assets into Judea and Samaria, "we will be able to go for a successful battle that we will win at the end." And despite entering a “unity” government with Fatah, he promised that Hamas will stick "to the program of resistance," adding that "during the last war on Gaza, we learned how to liberate all the occupied lands of Palestine."

On Monday, the US State Department refused to agree with Netanyahu’s UN General Assembly assertion that, “as Hamas's charter makes clear, Hamas’s immediate goal is to destroy Israel. But Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate... So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.”

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki responded to a question regarding Netanyahu’s “Hamas is ISIS” statement asking if Hamas is viewed as part of an "Islamic attempt to rule the world" by saying "we would not agree with that characterization, no.”