Electing Hamas

Electing Hamas - Zecharia Kahn


With the election of Hamas, the Bush Administration’s democracy promotion policy in the Middle East appears to be a failure. However, an in-depth review of the theory, motivations and actions leading up to the election of Hamas in the Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections shows a more complex picture. The history of the Hamas movement proves that it is a pragmatic and forward thinking organization that has been able to adapt to the modern electoral system with great skill; furthermore, in its election may lie the seeds for a lasting peace through the democratic process.

Interviewer: Can you clarify your concept of the Palestinian state?

Sheikh Ahmad Yasin (founder of Hamas): The Palestinian state must be founded on every inch of Palestine that we liberate, but without conceding the rest of our rights.

Interviewer: Do you recognize Israel?

Yasin: If I recognized Israel, the problem would be finished, and we would have no rights left in Palestine.

Interviewer: But if Israel withdraws from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, would you recognize it?

Yasin: When it withdraws, I will say.

Interviewer: But at that time should it be recognized?

Yasin: I leave this matter to the representatives of the Palestinian people.

Interviewer: Who are they?

Yasin: Those whom the Palestinian people will elect.1


On January 25, 2006, a democratic earthquake struck the Middle East when the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas won an absolute majority in the Palestinian parliamentary elections. The implications of the election for peace and stability in the region are unclear but by looking back at the recent history leading up to this historic election we can gain some much needed perspective and perhaps come to a better understanding of Hamas and how they are likely to act in the future.

While the Bush Administration’s rhetoric proclaims Iraq as the vanguard democracy in the heart of the Middle East, it is in the Palestinian Territories that this democratic revolution is taking place. Hamas’ electoral victory seemed to call into question the basic foundation of American foreign policy in the region. This was evident through US President George W. Bush’s declaration of the goal of US policy to promote democracy in the Arab world in an effort to transform the region into a more peaceful, stable and terrorist-free place in the long term. The election of an organization officially labeled as terrorists by both the US and EU, whose stated goal is the elimination of the State of Israel and who have killed hundreds of people in terrorist acts over the last 20 years would seem to call into question the wisdom of such a policy. Based on the assumption that democratic elections inherently help spread American values and support US security, these results can be seen as a horrendous backfiring of a misguided policy.

However, there appears to be no reason to make this assumption nor was the election necessarily a failure. While there is no reason to believe that democratic elections should bring about a result that automatically aligns with American interests, there is some evidence to support the argument that free and open elections leading to true representation are a necessary step towards moderation and accountability for radical groups. Though a Hamas victory appears to be a step backward and a move away from a possible peace, it could in fact be a necessary step forward. This may be an essential element in leading to a real and lasting Arab-Israeli peace since any deal made by the Palestinian Authority (PA) would require the backing of the broadest possible support from the Palestinian people. This means the Islamist groups would need to be included.

Hamas is a complex organization, one that is extremely flexible and pragmatic despite its fundamentalist ideology. Paradoxically, at the same time as it is forward thinking and modern, it is conservative and radical. Even though a PA dominated by Hamas runs the risk of extinction and at the very least particularly hard times to come, there are reasons to look at this as an opportunity as opposed to an unmitigated disaster. The Israelis had already been unilaterally imposing an attempt at peace upon a divided and corrupt PA still ruled by the remnants of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah party. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government was not negotiating with the PA and under his successor, Ehud Olmert; this will not change any time soon. Instead, it gives the Palestinians the opportunity to get their house in order. Of course, it also gives them enough rope to hang themselves by, but this is the gamble that has been taken and there is no backing out now.

The Integration Gamble

For years many Middle East experts, pundits and analysts have been stressing the need to allow and encourage Islamists and Islamic political parties to pursue their goals through the confines of the legal political system. By repressing Islamist movements, the argument goes; governments legitimize and empower the violent and radical tendencies that exist within such movements. What is needed instead, is a more nuanced and suitable response. First, there should be a differentiation between the radical and moderate elements of an Islamist movement. Second, a dual approach should be used, marginalizing the radicals and providing the moderates with incentives and rewards for playing a constructive role politically and socially.2

According to this argument, blind repression by a government only empowers the radical elements of the movement and discredits the moderates. What should be done instead is work to support the moderate Islamists as they develop a substantial stake in the existing government and institutions. Once this bond with the system is fully established, the Islamist movement will have been effectively co-opted and the radical and violent tendencies discredited. Once in power, the theory goes; the Islamist movement will be restrained by the reality of governing. Gamal al-Banna, now age 85 and the youngest brother of the founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent organization, clearly describes the situation as: “The real test of the Brotherhood is to let it enter politics. They will be in a different situation when they confront the necessities of ruling, and there are only two possible outcomes. They will have to compromise or fail.”3 It was this logic that led the PA to allow Hamas’s electoral participation and eventually to the dramatic election results.

Every situation is complex and has its own unique characteristics. This is certainly true for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with its incredibly high international profile and systemic fragility, where a single violent act can upset the entire peace process. Within this framework an infantile Palestinian state is emerging and under the current constraints and influences is attempting to move towards a democratic form of government. In order to do this, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas decided to gamble on integrating the Palestinian Islamist movements. As Abbas stated shortly after his election in January 2005:

Of course they should be converted into a political party… [I]t is good for us. We are talking about national unity. … [N]ow Hamas and Jihad [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] are running for the elections and what does it mean? It means that in time they will be converted into political parties.4

Abbas’s statement proves that he had bought into the integration argument. This, and other statements, proves he believed that the more their role becomes political, the more moderate Hamas and Islamic Jihad would have to become. By supporting the moderate voices within the jihadist movements, internal divisions would grow and faced with the practical choices of attempting to govern, the violent and radical tendencies within the movements could be restrained. As Hamas, the largest and most popular Palestinian Islamist group, takes on the responsibilities of power, they would specifically be more prepared to acknowledge the need to support the two-state solution and become more accountable to ‘ordinary Palestinians.’ This theory follows the belief that ‘ordinary Palestinians’ are more interested in peace and economic security, and polls have indeed shown that most Palestinians prefer a secular to an Islamic state.

Hamas seems to have other ideas. They see as their model the Lebanese Hizbullah movement. Hizbullah never gave up their armed resistance and have still successfully participated in Lebanese politics while seemingly forcing an Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon. As Khaled Masha’al, one of the most senior members of Hamas’s external leadership put it, “negotiating without resistance leads to surrender but negotiation with resistance leads to real peace.”5 Or, as Hashem el-Masri, the elected Hamas acting-mayor of the West Bank town of Qalqilya stated,”[Hamas ] is trying to create a balance between political and military issues,” and will not trade in one for the other. “Hamas is a resistance movement that will enter these elections to promote reform, but we remain a resistance movement.”6 For his part, Abbas had no plans to confront Hamas with arms, declaring that he had no intention of causing a Palestinian civil war. Indeed, even if they had wanted to, Abbas and the Fatah-run PA were not strong enough to disarm Hamas. Instead, they hoped that once a part of the government, Hamas’ violence would have been curtailed to a greater degree by the new legislature and public opinion.

Critics, on the other hand, argued that this was a foolish assumption. Hamas’s participation in elections certainly did not, and has not, made it inherently peaceful. Further, they were concerned that once Hamas had solidified its position within the PA’s institutions, it would resume its war of terror on Israel and seek to control the Palestinian Territories through force. They pointed out that the stated goal of Hamas is still the destruction of Israel and a state based on Islamic law. Also, allowing Hamas to participate without requiring them to disarm continues to allow them the option of using force to disrupt political negotiations they disagree with. Finally, the suspension of violence allows Hamas to rebuild its military force and plan future terrorist attacks.

Haim Malka, a fellow at the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in The Washington Quarterly that “despite the inherent risks, proponents of expanding Hamas’s role in Palestinian national politics…point to the fact that Hamas’s leaders have long called for transparent and accountable governing institutions and have demonstrated political pragmatism, suggesting that the group could accept less than its absolutist demands. Continuing to marginalize Hamas, which represents a significant portion of Palestinian society, will ensure that the movement will continue terrorist activities, thwarting any future political agreement with Israel and dashing any prospect for the creation of a vibrant Palestinian democracy.”7

Allowing Hamas, which represents a major portion of the Palestinian people, into the electoral process was an absolutely necessary step if there was going to be a long-term independent and democratic Palestinian state and Abbas realized this. Yet by taking this gamble, Abbas risked Hamas gaining a significant position in the Palestinian Parliament. As The Economist magazine noted in November 2005, “everyone is wondering what to do then: the United States and European Union, who classify Hamas as a terrorist organization; Fatah which stands to lose its cozy, corrupt monopoly over the PA; and not least Israel, for whom Hamas is the standard-bearer of an Islamist Palestinian nationalism that seeks to destroy the Jewish state.”8

Origins and Goals

Like many Islamist movements, Hamas has become as much a nationalist movement as it is a religious one. That being said, Hamas is first and foremost an Islamic religious fundamentalist organization. Hamas is an abbreviation of its full name, Harakat al-Muquawama al Islamiyya, which means ‘Islamic resistance movement,’ and can be translated as ‘zeal.’ It first emerged as a force in Palestinian politics shortly after the start of the first Intifada, or uprising, in 1987. Hamas was founded by the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip, which is still its traditional stronghold of support, as a direct challenge to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) monopoly on political power within Palestinian society. As the PLO evolved into the PA, Hamas remained its main challenger for power and, in many ways; it is opposition to the PLO, and later the PA, that helped define Hamas.

The PLO (and then the Fatah dominated PA) stood for a secular nationalist Palestinian identity. The ultimate goal was a political program, achieved through military and terrorist means, which would lead to the establishment of a territorial Palestinian state. In order to differentiate itself, Hamas appropriated parts of the PLO’s nationalist narrative and put it into an Islamic context. By combining an Islamic-national vision with community activism, Hamas is able to mix religious doctrine with daily concerns. This community activism was already a part of Hamas activities in its previous incarnation as the Muslim Brotherhood of Gaza. In the Muslim Brotherhood, or Society of the Muslim Brothers (Jama’iyyat al Ikhwan al Muslimin), we can find much of the organizational foundations of Hamas that help explain its popularity, evolution and current actions. As a New York Times article about the Brotherhood’s attempts to run in recent Egyptian elections put it, “the Muslim Brotherhood is often seen in two ways — as the fusty great uncle of Islamic politics, content to bide his time, or as the womb of all subsequent Islamic terror movements. Both views are true.”9

The members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza who created Hamas in 1987, led by their political and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, founded it upon the basis of an Islamic-nationalism, ostensibly without the need for compromise. The Hamas charter envisions a Palestinian state brought about not through negotiation but through holy war, a state that would exist in all of Palestine, not in part of it, and one that would be based on shari’a, or Islamic law, not a secular state. Hamas defined itself as an alternative power to the PLO with a similar goal, a Palestinian nation, but a superior method of achieving its objectives: the Islamization of the struggle.

Pragmatism, Oslo and Terrorism

With its combination of Islamic charity organizations and violent resistance to Israeli occupation, Hamas soon became extremely popular in the Gaza Strip. The high profile of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the success of some military operations soon raised Hamas to the status of an internationally known terrorist organization. The public face of Hamas was that of a fundamentalist organization committed only to violence and the destruction of the State of Israel. However, within the complex world of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, Hamas has had to walk a fine line between pragmatism and ideology, between fulfillment of its perceived Islamic duty of holy war against Israel and its awareness of the boundaries and constraints of the political and social environment in which it operates.10 Several challenges have required a fine-tuning of the Hamas ideology: the Oslo Accords, the establishment of the PA and the first general election, and finally, the continual question of whether to accept a temporary, peaceful settlement or to continue the jihad against Israel.

One of Hamas’s most important moves was to distinguish between its short-term goal of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza based on the 1967 borders, and its long-term objective of the ultimate destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian Islamic state in all of Palestine. By differentiating between short-term and long-term goals, Hamas was able to achieve political flexibility while not seeming to compromise its ideological credibility. In this way Hamas has been able to maintain its unique position of being a Palestinian national movement while holding fast to its stated Islamic-nationalist principles. By declaring that any settlement with Israel was justified in the short term as a step towards an ultimate long-term goal, Hamas seemingly overcame the necessity for negotiation and compromise.

This flexible ideology can be seen in many Hamas actions. One technique is the way in which the movement uses a ‘hudna,’ or a military truce, as well as another type of ceasefire called a ‘tahdiya,’ which usually refers to a ‘cooling off’ or ‘period of calm.’11 Neither the hudna nor the tahdiya is seen as supporting peace or accepting the legitimacy of Israel, but rather as endorsing a pause in conflict. In most cases the ceasefires have been offered in attempts to avoid overwhelming Israeli retaliation against the group’s leadership, usually in response to a Hamas terrorist act or following a Hamas-PA confrontation. Whenever they are used, they are always presented or accepted at a time when Hamas needed a break to organizationally regroup, consolidate their gains and prepare for new attacks.12

In addition to ceasefires, Hamas uses other methods such as controlled violence, calls for Palestinian solidarity, cunningly ambiguous statements, political independence and a calculated participation with the PA to maintain its position and influence. Hamas is also reliant on outside forces to provide it with popularity. Specifically, Hamas’ popularity thrives on three things. First, as the vanguard of the Palestinian resistance; they always benefit from Israeli aggression, whether or not it is in response to Hamas actions. Like many traditional Islamic movements oppressed by their governments, any military aggression serves to support Hamas as a symbol of the resistance. However, in Hamas’ unique case, the oppressive governments included Israel, the United States and the PA. Second, the rampant corruption in the Fatah movement has played right into the hands of Hamas, with their reputation of Islamic piety and honesty. This may be the single most important factor in Hamas’ current rise in popularity. Finally, Hamas thrives on poverty and desperation. With extensive charitable organizations and a spiritual outlook, Hamas offers assistance where no one else does. This is particularly true with life in the poverty stricken refugee camps that have always been one of its greatest centers of support. Traditionally, most of Hamas’ militants are recruited from among the young urban poor.

Hamas has managed to nimbly negotiate its way through the minefield of the conflict, adjusting to challenges, picking up opportunities and allies along the way, only to lose them, suffer setbacks and somehow survive. Many of the movement’s leaders, including two of the group’s most senior leaders, Yasin and Abd al-Aziz Rantisi, have been killed in targeted attacks by Israel. Despite such setbacks, their inherent strengths and flexible pragmatic politics, along with the corruption and ineptitude of the PA and Fatah, have placed Hamas in as strong a position as they have ever been.

Beyond the Second Intifada

As noted above, the current surge in electoral popularity for Hamas is as much, if not more, a reflection of Palestinian disappointment with Fatah, than it is about Hamas. Khaled Duzdar, a Palestinian analyst at the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information put it more bluntly: “The success of Hamas is only due to Fatah’s failures.”13 In life and in death, Yasser Arafat, the founder of the PLO and its main Fatah faction, seems to dominate Palestinian politics. Today, he is perhaps more conspicuous in his absence than he ever was, holed up in his Ramallah compound during his last few years. It was Arafat’s decision to endorse a second Intifada in the fall of 2000 brought an official end to the Oslo peace process. In addition, it was he who created the problems, particularly the corruption, which unraveled his Fatah party’s dominance within the Palestinian territories.

For its first four months, the Second Intifada was a Fatah-led insurgency. Headed by Marwan Bhargouti (now serving five consecutive life sentences in an Israeli prison), the tanzim, a new military wing of Fatah, carried out most of the attacks. It was not until the election of Ariel Sharon in February 2001 that Hamas stepped up its own level of violence. Soon it was Hamas suicide bombings within Israel that came to symbolize the uprising. Hamas did not declare a new official organizational goal for the increase in its operations; it was simply a continuation of its resistance to peace with Israel. At the same time however, it did appear to be following a new strategy based on the Hizbullah model of military resistance. In October 2002, Rantisi, then the Hamas political leader in Gaza, was quoted as saying “The intifada is about forcing Israel’s withdrawal from the 1967 territories… [b]ut that doesn’t mean the Arab-Israeli conflict will be over.”14

While the Second Intifada did not force Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders, it did bring great gains in popularity for Hamas. According to reliable surveys, Hamas increased its popularity by as much as 60 percent in the first three years of the Intifada, emerging as a power equal to Fatah in parts of the West Bank and far out-polling it in Gaza.15 This rise in popularity was due to a combination of traditional factors from which Hamas gained support: armed resistance to Israel, the collapse of PA police forces and divisions in Fatah sown by Israel’s West Bank and Gaza invasions, and the visceral appeal to Palestinians of its suicide attacks inside Israel. The extensive charitable and welfare services continued to be as important and stood in stark contrast to the inefficiency and collapse of the PA ministries. The result was that by late 2002, Hamas was less a party in opposition to the PA and Fatah than an independent national force bent on establishing, in the words of former PA Culture Minister, Ziad Abu Amr: “a political, social and military alternative to the existing Palestinian order.”16 Now once again, Hamas had an important choice to make. What to do with its newfound power?

The Hamas leadership made a strategic decision in 2004 to focus domestically, specifically on gaining control of the PA through the electoral process and facing the risks that that entailed. There were a number of restraints and influences, both internal and external that helped convince the leadership to make this strategic choice. First of all, there was the new regional order that was ushered in by the US response to the events of September 11, 2001. The US war on terror and the resulting focus on the Middle East meant that Hamas had to be very careful if it did not want to end up being labeled as a global jihadist group and lumped in with Al Qaeda. Already classified as a terrorist organization by the US, Hamas was starting to feel politically and economically isolated. The US, EU and PA had frozen bank accounts and disrupted Hamas’s flow of funds and, “according to one Egyptian intelligence official, by 2005 Hamas’ funding from Arab and Islamic states, with the exception of Iran, had all but dried up. In September 2003, the European Union put the whole of Hamas (rather than just its military wing) on its ‘terrorism’ blacklist, a huge political setback for a movement that ha[d] striven to be recognized internationally as an authentic Palestinian party, and a further crimp on its fundraising abilities.”17 In addition, by August 2003 Israeli military actions had devastated parts of the Hamas infrastructure and it needed a break from fighting. Without financial support, under assault from Israel and with world political attention focused on stopping terrorism, Hamas proved its pragmatism once again by adjusting its goals. There were also internal reasons for the shift. Palestinian public opinion had turned with the Second Intifada. A majority of Palestinians now wanted peace and more importantly economic security. The Intifada had left the infrastructure of the territories destroyed, the PA devastated and the economy in ruins. Finally, with Sharon imposing a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and the northern West Bank, Hamas saw an opportunity it could not miss to cash in on the political capital its armed resistance and welfare programs had earned.

In order to do this, Hamas turned once again to its strategy of accepting short-term gains without fully relinquishing its long-term objectives. Just weeks before he was killed in March 2004, Sheikh Yasin presented a new platform consisting of three carefully crafted parts. First, Hamas would temper its attacks on Israel for the duration of the withdrawal. This was further extended into a hudna signed in Cairo in March 2005, and extended to the end of the year in August. Second, Hamas would escalate its resistance efforts within Gaza in an attempt to try to show politically that Israel was withdrawing under fire. Finally, and most importantly, the new platform called for working alongside the PA towards the goal of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital.18 It was this fundamental shift towards working alongside the PA leadership, for essentially the same goals, that led Hamas to participate in the PA electoral process.

Power and Responsibility

In December 2005, about a month before the parliamentary elections, Hamas won big electoral victories in the West Bank towns of Nablus and Jenin, once Fatah strongholds. Despite Hamas’s previous success in March and July elections and high poll ratings all year, the victories still came as a shock to Fatah leaders, foreshadowing what was soon to come. “Issam Abu Baker, Fatah’s leader in Nablus, told The Associated Press: ‘We didn’t think for a moment that Hamas would win so many votes. The earth shook under our feet and this will have an effect on the Parliament.’”19 As problematic as this was for Fatah, Hamas’s electoral success was also a serious problem for Hamas itself who did not appear to be seeking leadership of the PA but instead to become the dominant force in Palestinian politics.

Again, foreshadowing future events, the electoral victory for Hamas meant they were now responsible for the problems of the people they governed. Evidence of this can be seen in the experience of the West Bank city of Qalqilya, where in May 2005 Hamas won every seat on the city council, as well as the mayoral race. In its short tenure, the Hamas administration has had some success in reforming city management and budgeting, but has lost many supporters by refusing to allow the use of city property for a traditional Palestinian cultural festival and by barring a group of intellectuals from meeting in a city building unless they first apologized for criticizing Hamas. Worst of all, Hamas, which ran on a platform of reform and lower prices, especially for electricity, has been hurt by an increase in electricity prices. While Israel provides Qalqilya its electricity, and prices have gone up everywhere because of higher oil costs, the blame falls to Hamas as the party in power:

“Hamas promised to lower electricity prices, but increased them,” said one resident, Youssef Sharwar. “They promised reform, but I think they were lying.”

Qalqilya “is already under siege from the Israeli wall,” said Mr. Zaid, the poultry merchant, referring to the separation barrier - here mostly a 10-yard-high concrete wall - that cuts off the city from Kfar Sava and curves around the Israeli settlements that overlook Qalqilya. “But this vote has created another siege by the world.” Omar Rai voted for Hamas, but now regrets it. “I worked in Hamas’s campaign,” he said, citing Fatah’s reputation for lassitude and corruption. “But they want to bring us back to Afghanistan!”20

Despite its insistence that it can reconcile short-term compromise with its long-term objectives, the step that Hamas took by participating in the elections cannot be underestimated. Since its inception, Hamas has held fast to three important principles that are directly challenged by its participation in the PA electoral process and threatens to fundamentally change the nature of the organization. First is the goal of the destruction of Israel, second, the right to political violence and third, the establishment of a state based on Islamic law. By taking part in the governing institutions of the PA, Hamas is participating in a government that was founded on the acceptance of the two-state solution; one that has accepted Israel’s right to exist. If Hamas hopes to dominate this organization, to help run the Palestinian economy and have a hand in negotiating the future of the Palestinian people within the framework of the PA, it will have to acknowledge Israel. It will need to allow the PA to have a monopoly on violence and give up the demands for an Islamic state, a generally unpopular notion with the Palestinian people. This would fundamentally change the character of Hamas; in essence accomplishing Abbas’s goal and transforming the terrorist jihadist Islamic movement into a legitimate political party.

Hamas leaders had intended to put off facing these decisions for as long as possible. In fact, they probably didn’t expect to have the electoral success that they’ve had and assumed instead they would be able to maintain their position as the opposition, with a minority in the parliament and the threat of military action as leverage. Now they are faced with the challenge of having an absolute majority in the Parliament and having to form the government. As Menachem Klein, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University told Israeli radio before the elections: “If Hamas wins a majority, it will have to conduct a policy that it does not agree with and conduct foreign relations on an ideological basis that it rejects, formally. It will have to change. This will not be simple at all.”21


Hamas’s history is far from simple and clear. When examined in detail a fundamental pragmatism and flexibility in the face of adversity appears. In order to survive Hamas has had to adapt its ideology as well as its methods. This flexibility should be seen as a warning for those who assume they can predict Hamas’s behavior or effectively bully and threaten it. It is also a positive sign for those who hope that Hamas will become more moderate as it adapts itself to the responsibilities of governing and the reality of being held accountable in elections for its actions. However, there is a long road ahead, as Hamas remains armed and defiant. In addition, whether or not this is the best case, Hamas is now the test case in the Middle East for electing Islamists.

If Hamas fails, it would be a spectacular failure with devastating results that would be a huge setback for both Islamists and democracy in the Arab and Muslim world. Such a failure would mean the Palestinian Territories would become the prime example of the danger of allowing Islamists to participate in the legal political system. The US and EU would then be inclined to provide whatever support is necessary to ‘friendly’ autocratic Middle Eastern governments to crush similar movements. This would be a great loss since there will never be real progress in the Middle East without greater pluralism and some kind of accommodation between religion and politics.


1 R. Scott Appleby ed., Spokesmen for the Despised: Fundamentalist Leaders of the Middle East (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), p. 245. Citation from Schiff and Ya’ari, Intifada, p. 225.

2 Guilan Denouex, “The Forgotten Swamp: Navigating Political Islam,” Middle East Policy (June 2002): pp. 56-82.

3 Neil MacFarquhar, “Will Politics and Success at the Polls Tame Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood?” New York Times 8 December 2005.

4 Haim Malka. “Forcing Choices: Testing the Transformation of Hamas.” The Washington Quarterly (Autumn 2005): pp. 37-54.

5 Ibid.

6 Steven Erlanger, “Voted In, Hamas Sets a West Bank City Astir.” New York Times 4 November 2005.

7 See Malka.

8 “The Hamas Conundrum.” Economist (12 November 2005): p. 50.

9 See MacFarquhar.

10 See Mishal and Sela, p. 2.

11 See Malka.

12 Jeff Cary, “Hamas Ceasefire Proposal: Peace or Pause?” The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Peace Watch #447, 16 January 2004, <http://www.ciaonet.org/ pbei/winep/peace_2004/2004_447/index.html>, and Seth Wikas, “The Hamas Ceasefire: Historical Background, Future Foretold?” The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Peace Watch #37, 3 January 2002. <http:/ /www.ciaonet.org/pbei/winep/peace_2002/2002_357.html>.

13 Steven Erlanger. “In Era After Arafat, Islamic Militants are Edging into Power,” New York Times, 18 December 2005.

14 Graham Usher, “The New Hamas: Between Resistance and Participation,” Middle East Report Online, 21 August 2005. <http://www.merip.org/mero/ mero082105.html>

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid.

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid.

19 Steven Erlanger, “Hamas Surges in West Bank; Blow to Fatah.” New York Times 17 December 2005.

20 Erlanger, “Voted In, Hamas Sets a West Bank City Astir.”

21 Erlanger, “Hamas Surges in West Bank, Blow to Fatah.”

Zecharia Kahn is an M.A. candidate at the Bologna Center. He previously attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and has worked for the OSCE-PA in Copenhagen, Denmark, and in the United States Senate.