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Palestinians Embrace Hamas as Legitimate Power

Hamas' landslide victory last month brings the group to the forefront of power in the Palestinian territories. Israel refuses to negotiate with Hamas; it, the United States and Europe call the group a terrorist organization.

But many Palestinians see Hamas as a legitimate force fighting Israeli occupation and see Hamas-backed charities as models of "clean" and efficient rule -- in contrast to the corruption of the secularist Fatah movement that dominated Palestinian politics for 40 years.

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Eric Westervelt is a San Francisco-based correspondent for NPR's National Desk. He has reported on major events for the network from wars and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa to historic wildfires and terrorist attacks in the U.S.