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The Globe's Patrick Martin spent months getting to know the leaders of Hamas _ a movement that may hold the key to a lasting peace in the Middle East. Judge for yourself whether Hamas is a group the West can do business with.

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Ayman Batniji , spokesman for the Hamas police and religious leader in the Shouada Al Aqsa Mosque Gaza CIty as he preaches to young Muslim teenagers June 17,2010.

Heidi Levine/heidi levine The Globe and Mail

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A young Palestinian boy with his face painted the colors of the Palestinian flag during a rally marking the 23rd anniversary of the group's founding in Gaza City on Dec. 14, 2010.

Heidi Levine for The Globe and Mail/heidi levine The Globe and Mail

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The children of slain settler Shmuel Gillis are embraced by their mother Ruti Gillis, on Feb. 2, 2001, at the site where their father was killed in a drive-by shooting near Hebron on his way home to the Jewish settlement of Carmei Tzur in the West Bank.

Pablo Sanchez/Reuters/Pablo Sanchez/Reuters

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Efraim Halevy, former head of the Mossad, is now heading the Center for Strategic and Policy Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusaem.

Charla Jones/Globe and Mail/Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail

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A screen grab from an interview with Hamas cabinet minister Ghazi Hamad. In this segment of the video, he is saying that Hamas members do not have horns. Credit:

Heidi Levine for The Globe and Mail/heidi levine The Globe and Mail

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A Palestinian boy dressed as a Hamas militant holds two toy guns with other small boys wearing military uniforms bearing Hamas banners during a rally celebrating Hamas's victory in the Palestinain parliamentary elections held at the Jabalya refugee camp.

Heidi Levine for The Globe and Mail/heidi levine The Globe and Mail

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Palestinian kindergarden teacher Suad Batniji.

Heidi Levine for The Globe and Mail/heidi levine The Globe and Mail

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Senior Palestinian Hamas leader Mussa Abu Marzuk (left) listens to questions during a press conference in Moscow on May 24, 2011, one day after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Moscow visit of the top Palestinian officials represented one of Russia's most series involvements in the stalled Middle East process in recent years, and coincided with U.S. President Barack Obama's conditional support for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.

YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)/YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

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Munib Rashid Masri is an unlikely man in a most unlikely setting. Ten years ago, in the middle of a violent intifada, he built a palatial mansion on the top of Mt. Gerizim overlooking this Palestinian city. He deserves much of the credit for the historic reconciliation between the antagonistic Hamas and Fatah organizations. By this time next week, the wealthy, 75-year-old, American-educated businessman and philanthropist could also be the choice of both parties to be the interim Palestinian government's prime minister, which means Mr. Masri would be responsible for taking the West Bank and Gaza to elections next year. And, if all goes according to Palestinian plan, that could include being prime minister should the Palestinian territories be recognized by the United Nations as an independent state this September.

Heidi Levine for The Globe and Mail/heidi levine The Globe and Mail

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A Palestinian boy carries a toy gun spray painted green, the color of Hamas.

Heidi Levine for The Globe and Mail/heidi levine The Globe and Mail

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Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal speaks during a press conference with other Palestinian opposition party leaders in Damascus on March 15, 2010 to condemn the reopening of a landmark synagogue in Jerusalem, calling it a prelude to the destruction of the Al-Aqsa mosque in the holy city.

LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images/LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images

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A screen grab of an interview with Ahmed Yousef.

Heidi Levine for The Globe and Mail/heidi levine The Globe and Mail

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One of Hamas's top leaders Mahmoud al-Zahar following a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at Abbas's office in Gaza City on Feb. 4,2006.

Heidi Levine for The Globe and Mail/heidi levine The Globe and Mail

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