Hamas is gaining popularity on the Palestinian street and PA head Abbas is losing his grip. Hamas therefore wants elections, while Abbas refuses.
Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas is refusing to hold elections because he’s afraid of losing, Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Zahar was quoted as saying on Saturday by The Jerusalem Post.
The Hamas activist accused the PA of working for Israel to prevent another intifada against the Jewish state.
Zahar told Hamas supporters during a rally in the Gaza Strip’s Shati refugee camp that Hamas was prepared for elections, but “Abbas is afraid of holding them because he fears the results.” according to the Post.
Poll Supports Hamas Claims
A survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy Research in September shows that Hamas’s popularity on the Palestinian street is much greater than that of Abbas’s Fatah movement.
Hamas’s popularity has grown significantly among Arabs living in PA-run territory in Judea and Samaria since the terror group bombarded Israel with missiles from Gaza over the past summer throughout Operation Protective Edge.
The poll shows that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would receive 61 percent of the vote in that region if Palestinian unity government elections were held now, as opposed to PA chair Mahmoud Abbas, who would be favored by only 25 percent.
The survey indicates that Haniyeh, in an election encompassing Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, would likely become president, although support for the Hamas leader would be weaker – 53 percent – among the Gaza population; Abbas, it seems, would gather 43 percent of the Gaza vote.
Continued Disunity among Palestinians
These latest assertions voiced by Hamas are the most recent in a series of quarrels between Fatah and Hamas since the formation in June of the Palestinian Unity Government.
Tensions peaked last week when Fatah accused Hamas of masterminding a series of explosions that targeted 15 Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip, the Post says. Hamas reportedly banned a rally that was supposed to be held by Fatah in Gaza marking the 10th anniversary of the death of former PA leader Yasser Arafat.
Abbas warned in September that the unity government was on the brink of collapse, stating: “If the government will not be unified, [in terms of] the weapons and laws in the West Bank and Gaza, there won’t be any partnership or discussion with the [Hamas] organization.” He further stated that “Hamas has been trying to cause the Palestinian Authority to fail since the day it was formed.”
“I don’t trust Hamas much because they change their words all the time. There must be a unified Palestinian Authority,”Abbas declared.
It is apparent that Abbas has no control over the Palestinian street, nor do they support him. Should Israel trust Abbas as a partner in peace? Can Israel rely on him?
Author: United with Israel Staff