Hamas should hire Jonathan Steele, senior foreign correspondent for the Guardian, as their PR chief:
The elections in Palestine, the freest of the four recent polls, could have provided both stability and democracy. One party, Hamas, won a clear victory in a contest judged by all national and international observers as free and fair. Having won, it sensibly offered the losers - Fatah - posts in a government of national unity.Unbelievable. I wonder if he can say this to the Shalit and the Asheri families face to face. On second thought, what am I talking about, I'm sure he could.
If this has not happened, the fault does not lie with Hamas. Fatah militants refused to accept the voters' verdict gracefully, they rejected the coalition offer, and outside powers have increasingly interfered by holding Hamas to international blackmail and demanding it reverse its positions or see Palestinians starve. The latest disruption of the election result was President Mahmoud Abbas' attempt to force a referendum defining relations with Israel - a move that was unnecessary, divisive, and likely to produce violence at a precarious moment when Palestinians need unity.
The moral in Palestine is not that democracy brings instability, but that it is the failure of powerful forces to accept democracy's results that causes instability.