Hamas lashes out at PA for scheduling municipal elections

‘Hamas is in one camp and the Palestinian people are in another,’ Fatah spokesman tells The Times of Israel

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Hamas and Fatah officials meet in Cairo for unity talks in February 2012. (photo credit: Mohammed al-Hums/Flash 90)
Hamas and Fatah officials meet in Cairo for unity talks in February 2012. (photo credit: Mohammed al-Hums/Flash 90)

Hamas has lashed out at the Palestinian Authority Wednesday following the latter’s designation of October 20 as the date for municipal elections “all across the country.” Hamas said it would not allow elections to go forward in the Gaza Strip as long as its operatives continue to be persecuted in the West Bank.

“This decision is a blow to the reconciliation agreement, and an attempt to impose facts on the ground,” Sami Abu-Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, told AFP Tuesday. The Hamas government in Gaza convened to condemn the PA for taking “unilateral steps,” stating that election results would be illegitimate in the absence of a national consensus and “in light of the organized oppression of political rights” by the PA.

Last week, Hamas halted voter registration in the Strip in a move observers said was a major blow to reconciliation efforts with Fatah. PA oppression only increased in the West Bank since reconciliation talks began, Hamas claimed, calling on the Egyptian government — Hamas’ new Islamist ally — to pressure Abbas into stopping the West Bank onslaught, Palestinian daily Felesteen reported.

Hamas won a clear majority in the last municipal elections held in the PA in 2006, but a Fatah spokesman claimed on Wednesday that in the current atmosphere the Islamic movement fears the outcome of possible elections.

“The Palestinian people want elections, and all Palestinian factions have agreed on this, but Hamas is afraid of them,” Ahmad Assaf, a Fatah spokesman, told The Times of Israel. “Hamas is in one camp and the Palestinian people are in another.”

Assaf added that the Palestinian people have “exposed the true face of Hamas,” noting a discrepancy between the movement’s words and its actions regarding elections.

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