Hamas is likely to win the Palestinian municipal elections scheduled for October, Fatah and Palestinian Authority officials fear.
The Hamas movement, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, has recently agreed to hold elections in the Strip, and announced it would take part in the elections in the West Bank as well.
Hamas Spokesperson Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri said that his movement would put forth lists of politically unaffiliated “technocrats who would be at the best service of the people.”
Hamas sees the municipal elections as an opportunity to regain a foothold in the West Bank in the wake of severe repression against its terrorist as well as civilian infrastructures by the Israel Defense Forces and the PA’s security services.
Elements within Hamas are pushing to form coalitions with local movements so that the IDF will be unable to prevent their participation.
“We will not consider a candidate’s organizational past if he is worthy and his ideas are in keeping with the movement’s,” a Hamas official told Breitbart Jerusalem. “We should present a manifesto in every municipality and labor to create an attractive one, but on the other hand not play into the hands of the occupation by providing them with the excuse to say that it’s a Hamas list and therefore should be banned.”
The movement will provide organizational, financial and community support to the candidates, who will be “ours but not only.”
Hamas predicts that the residents of the West Bank are fed up with Fatah and the PA, and that it stands to benefit from divisions among its rivals. It is also assumed that, due to these divisions, Fatah will fail to make significant headway in Gaza as well.
A senior Fatah source told Breitbart Jerusalem that “calling the municipal elections is likely to backfire once again. Elections are a good and democratic thing, but not that good if they open the door to Hamas’ return to the West Bank. It may also play into Israel’s hands, who will claim that Hamas won the elections and it is therefore unable to negotiate with a terrorist entity.”
Asked why he is so sure Hamas would win, the source said,
The divisions within Fatah, the infighting, the flagrant corruption, all of these will serve as ammunition for Hamas, and it will not fall on deaf ears. Hamas already said they wouldn’t run independently, but coalesce with technocrats and local leaders; that was always their way to package their merchandise – people can vote for Hamas policies without thinking they’re voting for Hamas, whatever it means for Israel and its likely retaliation.
They’re experts at it, and they’ve done it with great success in the previous round of local elections when they won virtually every big city, and only after the coup in Gaza the PA disbanded the West Bank municipalities ruled by Hamas. These elections will be Hamas’ ticket back to the West Bank, under the cloak of local lists that will in fact usher in Hamas’ religious, political, and social activities.