Palestinians Embrace Hamas as Legitimate Power

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh at a news conference in Gaza

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh at a news conference in Gaza, Feb. 12. Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters

Hamas' landslide victory last month brings the group to the forefront of power in the Palestinian territories. Israel refuses to negotiate with Hamas; it, the United States and Europe call the group a terrorist organization.

But many Palestinians see Hamas as a legitimate force fighting Israeli occupation and see Hamas-backed charities as models of "clean" and efficient rule — in contrast to the corruption of the secularist Fatah movement that dominated Palestinian politics for 40 years.

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