In the interest of forestalling a lot of nonsensical argumentation to the effect that Hamas is merely a "freedom fighting" organization whose rocket attacks against Israel were simply in opposition to "occupation" (which in fact Israel unilaterally ended back in 2005), I strongly suggest reading this Times article providing a few interesting excepts afrom Hamas' 1988 charter. I quote:
"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes. (Article 8)
Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. (Article 13)
Duty to fight
It is necessary to instill the spirit of jihad (holy war) in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters.
It is necessary that scientists, educators and teachers, information and media people, as well as the educated masses, especially the youth and sheikhs of the Islamic movements, should take part in the operation of awakening (the masses).
It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Muslim generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis. (Article 15)
That the leadership of Hamas takes its proclamations with the utmost seriousness can be observed by looking at material for "awakening the masses" like the following:
If anyone can argue with a straight face that an organization with such an anti-semitic, paranoid, religiously fanatical and genocidal world-view is amenable to "negotiations", I will be flabbergasted: that Hamas' leaders have not once ever suggested anything more than a "hudna" ("truce") of between 10-30 years - the prime motivation for which would be to provide time to build strength for the resumption of the jihad to, in Hamas' own words, obliterate Israel - ought to tell one something about the prospects of any lasting peace while Hamas holds the reins of power. Only a fool or an incurable anti-semite would expect the Israelis to act to support in any way an organization committed to their destruction, but that is just what so many incredibly dense individuals are doing when they criticize Israel for refusing to recognize Gaza's "democratically elected" government, or for then imposing a blockade on the Gaza strip after Hamas' seizure of power.
Finally, to put all the outcry about Palestinian deaths in perspective, it ought to be clear from Hamas' stated goals that if Hamas has been unable to kill 10,000 times as many Jews (and not just Israelis) as the number Palestinians who have been killed since Israel invaded Gaza, it is merely because Hamas currently lacks the means and know-how to do so, not because the jihadists would restrain their bloodlust in the slightest if the shoe were on the other foot. As is clear from the protesters abroad chanting "Nuke Israel!", "Go back to the ovens!" and "Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas!", such sentiments are pretty much par for the course across the Islamic world: these people see nothing at all wrong with Palestinians launching thousands of rocket attacks at Israel, but suddenly discover humanitarian instincts when the Israelis decide to retaliate; in truth, what really irks them is that they lack the means to slaughter Jews in the vast quantities they desire, while their would-be victims in Israel have the gall not to simply bend their necks and wait to be killed.