Khaled Meshaal Since Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal's interview with the New York Times last month, some analysts have sugggested that Hamas is becoming more pragmatic.

This new report from the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), which describes itself as a "nonpartisan, US Congress established and funded organization", seems well timed then.

The report - titled "Hamas: Ideological Rigidity and Political Flexibility" - explores the idea that Hamas might be influenced in negotiations by using an "Islamic point of view".

The report suggests that "it is not inevitable that Hamas will accept coexistence" but that "acceptance [of Israel] is more likely if it is framed within its Islamic ideology."

The report's authors - Paul Scham and Osama Abu-Isrhad, Jewish and Muslim respectively - say they have different ideological backgrounds, but agree that negotiations are possible with Hamas if participants are willing to work around Hamas' religious rhetoric, which will not change: "Although Hamas, as an Islamic organization, will not transgress shari‘a, which it understands as forbidding recognition [of Israel], it has formulated mechanisms that allow it to deal with the reality of Israel as a fait accompli. These mechanisms include the religious concepts of tahadiya [short-term calming period] and hudna [longer-term truce] and Hamas's own concept of "Palestinian legitimacy."