Ahead of elections, Fatah brags of killing 11,000 Israelis

Despite PA efforts to suppress the group, October’s municipal vote could boost Hamas in West Bank

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at Khartoum's airport, July 19, 2016. (AFP/Ashraf Shazly)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at Khartoum's airport, July 19, 2016. (AFP/Ashraf Shazly)

In a Facebook post Tuesday, the Palestinian Fatah group listed a number of its achievements. At the top: the killing of 11,000 Israelis.

The post was carried by Fatah’s official page. It was translated by the watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch.

In its boast, Fatah also notes other achievements, such as losing 170,000 “martyrs,” being the first to carry out attacks in the First Intifada, which began in 1987, as well as in the second that launched in the fall of 2000. It also takes credit for leading the Palestinian campaign against Israel in the UN.

Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, is widely seen as the more moderate of the two main Palestinian factions. Hamas, the Islamist terror group which rules Gaza, is Fatah’s main competitor.

The current Fatah post is likely linked to the upcoming Palestinian municipal elections, set for October 8, in which Fatah and Hamas are expected to contest seats in most Palestinian municipalities. In many places in the West Bank, Hamas members will be running without openly identifying with the movement, which has been suppressed by PA forces in areas under its control.

Much of the Fatah Facebook page is currently devoted to criticizing Hamas.

According to PMW, this wasn’t the first time Fatah made such a boast. A similar message appeared on Fatah’s Facebook page in 2014.

If Hamas wins significant gains in the municipal election, it could signal its successful attainment of a firm foothold in the territory.

Last week, analysts suggested that Hamas likely agreed to the municipal elections out of the belief that the aging and unpopular Abbas would be a weak opponent.

Fatah has tried to prevent Hamas gains by putting pressure on the group ahead of the vote. On Monday, a senior Hamas member decried the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing arrests of its members in the West Bank, according to Israel Radio. He said the persecution of Hamas members showed that Abbas’s government was not conducting fair and democratic elections.

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