Although no one would accuse Hamas of softening its message into a bland 'third way' politics, its attempts to reform and become the new dominant voice of Palestine nationalism have not gone unnoticed. Graham Usher (a regular contributor to Red Pepper on Palestine and Israel ) has documented this trend in this informative article for Middle East Report, published in August 2005. The following quotation is particularly interesting:
Sheikh Ahmad Hajj Ali is a member of Hamas' Shura Council, the supreme decision-making body in the organization. He sketches a future in which a new Hamas, domestic in thrust, consensual in aim, international in reach, emerges gradually from the old one: "Our aim is governance and one can only govern through the institutions of government. If we are the minority in Parliament, we will monitor the ministers on the basis of their performance, not on the basis of their political affiliation. If we are a majority, we will not monopolize power like Fatah. We will share power in a national coalition, a government that represents all the Palestinian people."
The sheikh continues: "But in all cases our priority now is to address the internal Palestinian situation rather than the confrontation with Israel. We would negotiate with Israel since that is the power that usurped our rights. If negotiations fail, we will call on the world to intervene. If this fails, we will go back to resistance. But if Israel were to agree with our internationally recognized rights -- including the refugees' right of return -- the Shura Council would seriously consider recognizing Israel in the interests of world peace."