Shin Bet head asked Abbas to scrap Palestinian elections if Hamas runs — report

PA leader said to have rebuffed Nadav Argaman’s request to call off upcoming vote if terror organization takes part

Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman outside his home on February 11, 2016. (Flash90)
Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman outside his home on February 11, 2016. (Flash90)

The head of the Shin Bet security agency recently urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to scrap the upcoming elections for the Palestinian parliament if the Hamas terror group takes part, Israeli television reported Friday.

Citing a Palestinian source, the Kan public broadcaster said Nadav Argaman was rebuffed by the PA chief.

The report said the request was made in the past two weeks during a meeting in Ramallah, the PA’s seat of government.

Abbas issued a decree in January ordering the first national Palestinian elections in over 14 years. The last elections, held in 2006, resulted in a parliamentary majority for Hamas.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah, September 3, 2020. (Flash90)

Hamas’s victory led to a year-and-a-half struggle for power, which ended in 2007 with the establishment of two rival Palestinian governments: Hamas in Gaza and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The Palestinians are set to hold national legislative elections on May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31. Observers remain skeptical that the elections will actually take place, however, as several election promises have fallen through before.

On Tuesday, Palestinian factions agreed to abide by an electoral “honor code” following talks in Cairo. The factions, which included the rival Fatah and Hamas movements, pledged not to incite “religious, sectarian, tribal, regional, familial or racial sentiments” and to refrain from violent intimidation.

Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report.

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