Former Israeli official Daniel Levy – writer of the essential blog Prospects for Peace – offers thoughts to the next US President (though clearly the idea of engaging Hamas is something the Australian government is already keen to ignore, preferring to stick with failed policies of the Bushies):
Contrary to popular misperception, Hamas and al-Qaeda are adversaries, not allies. Hamas is about ending the occupation and reforming Palestinian society; al-Qaeda, about opposing the West per se and spreading chaos in the Muslim world and beyond. One is reformist, the other revolutionary; one nationalist, the other post-nationalist; one grievance-based, the other fundamentalist. Hamas has signaled that it will accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It can be worked with, albeit indirectly for political reasons. Under a new administration, U.S. policy toward Hamas should enter a period of deniable ambiguity, as third parties (principally Arab and European) explore a series of propositions with the Hamas leadership.