The best examination of Hamas that I’ve read comes from Mark Perry writing in the Palestine Internationalist:
“…If it is in fact the case that it is more appropriate for Western political theorists to understand Hamas as a political movement that falls within the mainstream of historical understanding — if Haniyeh is more like Samuel Adams than, say, Robespierre — and, if it is the case that Hamas is interested in good governance and an emphasis on constituent services (as they claim), then why has the West so purposely attempted to strangle the Hamas Palestinian government? If, as it now appears, Hamas might be willing to reach an agreement, or long-term hudna with Israel (in which recognition of the Jewish State is the end product of negotiations, and not a precondition of negotiations) then what exactly are we afraid of? The answer, of course, is contained in Bernard Lewis’s initial description of the Iranian revolution — as rooted in a “religiously formulated critique of the old order, and religiously expressed plans for the new.” That is to say, we in the West are not afraid of Hamas at all. We’re afraid of Islam.
The need for sensible and rational understanding is vital, unless, of course, we want to rely on this kind of hysterical “analysis.”