Hamas is vilified and not recognised by Israel, the US and the EU. Never mind that it was the party which, legitimately, won the elections in Gaza. The organisation certianly doesn't have a good track record i many levels not least from a public-relations angle.
Now Jimmy Carter has met the Hamas leader - and in the process attracted considerable condemnation for doing so. Read about that here [from the Washington Post] and Forward's "take" on the visit [here]
But what about Hamas? Do we really know what they stand for and want? What better person than Mahmoud al-Zahar, a surgeon, and a founder of Hamas - he was foreign minister in the government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, which was elected in January 2006 - to clarify things, as he does in this piece "No Peace Without Hamas" in The Washington Post.
Reuters reports on the Carter visit, here, in relation to an address given by Carter at the American University in Cairo - when he described the blockade of Gaza this way:
"It's an atrocity what is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. it's a crime... I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on."