YERUSALE ALE EU (AP) – Hamas has rejected the idea of postponing the Palestinian elections ahead of Thursday’s leadership meeting, in which President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party is expected to seek a postponement.
Hamas is expected to do well in the May 22 parliamentary elections amid deepening divisions in the Fatah region. Discussing the sensitive issue of voting in East Jerusalem, Abbas could offer an excuse to cancel the first Palestinian election in 15 years.
Israel has not said whether it will allow voting in east Jerusalem, but has expressed concern about Hamas’ growing power. Israel (Western countries consider Hamas a terrorist group) is likely to boycott any Palestinian government that includes it.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, Hamas said the vote was a “fundamental national right.”
Hamas said the vote should take place east of Jerusalem, but rejected the idea that it needed Israel’s permission. Instead, it called on the authorities to investigate “forcing elections in Jerusalem without or with the consent of the occupation.”
It disguised the warning to Abbas, without naming him, saying that “Hamas will not provide any delay or cancellation and will not provide cover.”
It is stated that the responsibility for any such decision lies “with those who accept it in response to the veto.”
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza, in the 1967 war, territories that the Palestinians wanted for their future state. Israel annexed East Jerusalem in an unrecognized international move, viewing the entire city as its capital, banning Palestinian Authority from operating there. Palestinians consider East Jerusalem their capital.
According to interim peace agreements reached in the 1990s, which Hamas rejected, some 6,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem cast their ballots through Israeli post offices. The remaining 150,000 can vote with or without the permission of Israel.
Fatah said the election could not be held without Israel’s permission for the people of East Jerusalem to vote. Opponents call for creative solutions, such as placing ballot boxes in schools or places of worship.
The controversy has gained more momentum since the beginning of Ramadan, as Muslim worshipers clashed with Israeli police over restrictions on rallies.
Abbas is expected to make a final decision late Thursday evening after meeting with leaders of Hamas and other factions.
The July 31 election և և the presidential election is a rare opportunity for the Palestinians to strengthen a new leadership և may set a different course in their decades-long struggle for independence.
Abbas, 85, a close ally of Fatah figures now 60-70 years old, has dominated Palestinian Authority for nearly two decades. They have failed to advance the hopes of a Palestinian state, heal a 13-year-old internal rift with Hamas, lift the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, or empower a new generation of leaders.
In the last election in 2006, Hamas won a landslide victory after campaigning as a corruption-free scumbag. This led to an internal crisis that ended with Hamas’s capture of Gaza the following year, limiting Abbas’s authority on the Israeli-occupied Jordan River.
Hamas’s popularity has plummeted for years as conditions in Gaza continue to deteriorate. But it remained united and disciplined, even when Fatah was divided into three rival parliamentary lists.
Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist և It has waged three wars with it since taking control of Gaza. It has carried out numerous attacks over the past three decades that have killed hundreds of Israeli civilians.
Associated Press reporter lal elal Hassan made his contribution to Ramallah (West Bank).