The radical Islamist movement Hamas shocked the world when it won a landslide election victory in January 2006 in the Palestinian occupied territories.
One of the few journalists not to be surprised by this outcome was Zaki Chehab who has developed an international reputation as a fearless reporter and was one of the first to interview members the Iraqi resistance in May 2003. Fluent in Arabic, he is a Palestinian refugee who grew up in UN refugee camps and has unique access to and understanding of Hamas.
Like Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon, Chehab shows how Hamas built a formidable social base in Palestine through its welfare programs. He also explains why, in the face of the endless complexities, disappointments and delays brought about by the signing of the Oslo Peace Accord, Hamas's strategy of armed struggle and terrorism offers the Palestinian people a seductive, simple and deadly alternative.