Putin reiterated that Russia does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization, and urged the global community to work with a Hamas-led Palestinian government.
"Hamas has arrived at the doors of power through legitimate elections," Putin said. "We must respect the Palestinian people and we have to look for solutions for the Palestinian people, for the international community, and also for Israel. Contacts with Hamas must continue," he added. (Hamas not a terror organization)
The leaders of Hamas have some chance to make an alliance with Israeli leaders that would allow them to gain an unencumbered claim to some territory and gain some support from Western leaders. There has been some attempt to do this. In 2008, former President Jimmy Carter worked with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal to reach an agreement that Hamas would agree to a truce with Israel if and when the Palestinian people agreed to a Palestinian state in the territory that had been taken by Israel during the 1967 war.
Israel has refused such overtures on the ground that Hamas is not likely to keep to the terms of any truce. "Since the Prophet Muhammad made a temporary hudna, or truce, with the Jews about 1,400 years ago, Hamas allows the idea. But no one in Hamas says he would make a peace treaty with Israel or permanently give up any part of Palestine."
Article Fifteen of Hamas's covenant underscores this idea:
The day that enemies usurp part of Muslim land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Muslim. In face of the Jews' usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised. To do this requires the diffusion of Islamic consciousness among the masses, both on the regional, Arab and Islamic levels. It is necessary to instill the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters (http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm
Of course, the covenant of Hamas is its past: The leaders could choose to alter the covenant, or to set it aside, or to substitute a new covenant entirely. But this seems unlikely. Hamas's passion and its legitimacy both arise from its embodiment of a certain version of Islam. It can set this aside to achieve greater legitimacy in the larger world, but only at the expense of its feelings of self-legitimacy and the support of those who believe in it in the group's current ideology.
Praise be to Allah, the Most Generous
If Hamas continues to fight against the existence of Israel as a state it will never itself rise to the level of a state. As much support as it might have from within and from neighboring Arab states, there will simply be too much powerful (both military and cultural) opposition from Israel and its allies, including the United States). There is, however, another path that Hamas may take that will give it legitimacy both in and out of the Arab world. It may choose to take on a more purely social role.
Charity is enjoined on Muslims, and this idea is embedded in the Hamas covenant in Articles 20 and 21:
Muslim society is a mutually responsible society. The Prophet, prayers and greetings be unto him, said: "Blessed are the generous, whether they were in town or on a journey, who have collected all that they had and shared it equally among themselves." ..
Mutual social responsibility means extending assistance, financial or moral, to all those who are in need and joining in the execution of some of the work. Members of the Islamic Resistance Movement should consider the interests of the masses as their own personal interests. They must spare no effort in achieving and preserving them. They must prevent any foul play with the future of the upcoming generations and anything that could cause loss to society. The masses are part of them and they are part of the masses. Their strength is theirs, and their future is theirs. Members of the Islamic Resistance Movement should share the people's joy and grief, adopt the demands of the public and whatever means by which they could be realised. The day that such a spirit prevails, brotherliness would deepen, cooperation, sympathy and unity will be enhanced and the ranks will be solidified to confront the enemies. (http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm)
It is hard to envision Hamas setting aside its militancy. And yet it is also hard to see any other way forward for it over the long run. Charity is something that all stakeholders in the future of the Middle East will recognize as legitimate. (Ayyash, 2010, p. 104). And it is the quality of governance that is most needed by the Palestinian people.
Ayyash, M. (2010). Hamas and the Israeli state: A 'violent dialogue'. European journal of international relations 16 (1): 103-123.
Carter Says Hamas and Syria Are Open for Peace. (22 April 2008). New York times.
Hamas covenant. Retrieved 15 March 2010 from http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm
Hamas is not a terrorist organization. Retrieved 16 March 2010 from http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3213707,00.html