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Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the jailed spiritual leader of Hamas, told his followers through a Palestinian newspaper Friday to "give peace a chance" and abandon the violence that has threatened to derail the West Bank autonomy agreement. "This is a very hopeful sign," reports TIME's Jamil Hamad from the West Bank. "It will give the moderate elements within Hamas an opportunity to become part of the process. But it must be remembered that Hamas is a huge organization, and it is not the moderates who are in control. The radical extremists in places like Tehran and Damascus are still very powerful, so it is still an open question if they will also stop the violence. This development will also really test Arafat's commitment to democracy in the new Palestinian state. Hamas does not want a symbolic role. They want a piece of the pie, and now it is up to Arafat to cut them a slice."