Hamas' landslide victory in the newly conducted Palestinian election has shocked the world, including the Hamas members themselves. Some are already saying the group's victory has darkened the prospects for Middle East peace. From that victory I see hope. Why? For two main reasons.
First--its a triumph of democracy, assuming that the election was indeed conducted fairly and without fear and intimidation. US President George Bush initiated a big bang to "democratize" the region. He got it. He is probably not comfortable with the result but the Palestinians have spoken and the world should respect that. Democracy means that you give equal chance to everybody to contest political power in a peaceful way, knowing that the winner might be the one you don't like.
Second--Hamas will now be doing the day-to-day boring and challenging job of governing the Palestinian nation. This tedious process will certainly transform them. They used to be known as a "terrorist" organization; now they are "legitimate." More than ever, the world now expect them to behave according to the prevailing "rule sets" among the family of nations. The organization is used to be known for its violent actions against the Israelis. Now the members have more responsibilities including the delivery of basic social services like health and education, providing economic and social infrastructure, generating investments and jobs, collecting taxes, among many others. To do that, they need to engage and be connected with the rest of the world.