BLOCK: I'd like to ask you about what could be seen as a contradiction. Your most recent report says that Palestinians' will for a two-state solution has never been as great as today. And I'm trying to figure out how to square that with the public support for Hamas, which has also vowed that Israel as a country has to be destroyed. How do those two things get reconciled?
Mr. SHIKAKI: It does create a certain contradiction with the rise in support for Hamas. However, I would say that that is true if one is to consider the peace process as the most significant driving force for voters, which unfortunately isn't. You see, if there was progress in the peace process, it would be, but there is no progress in the peace process, as I said earlier. The ability of Fatah to deliver on the peace process does not exist. Fatah has been accused by the public, perceived by the public of being corrupt, being unable to deliver good governments or clean government. Hamas is perceived as uncorrupt. The incorruptibility of Hamas is a great asset for Hamas particularly at a time when the public thinks that fighting corruption should be the top priority of the Palestinian political system.
And a little soft soap, to soothe NPR's reality-based listenership, who might have been getting disquieted at having their murdering Palestinian mascots actually gain control of the Palestinian proto-state:
BLOCK: And would you expect to see any public repudiation from Hamas of their core belief that Israel should not exist?
Mr. SHIKAKI: I do believe that Hamas will soon begin to drop over this issue. And one way I believe in the mid term that I see Hamas beginning to address it is by saying that Israel exists on de facto basis and that Hamas will be able to recognize it as such, on de facto basis. But I believe Hamas will do its best to stay away from statements like Hamas recognizes Israel's right to exist or that it recognizes Israel on a de jure basis. I think this is something for the long run and not for the short term.
BLOCK: Khalil Shikaki, thanks very much.
Mr. SHIKAKI: You're welcome.
Yes, thanks for the fig leaf, professor.