Palestinian Elections Halted Due to Hamas, Fatah Feud
JNS.org – Palestinian municipal elections originally scheduled for October 8 have been suspended following disputes between rival parties Fatah and Hamas, Reuters reported.
The Palestinian High Court of Justice in Ramallah made the decision after arguments arose over Hamas, the Islamist terror group controlling Gaza, having disqualified candidate lists drawn up by the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Fatah faction, a move that would have left Fatah unable to compete in nine of the 25 races.
The presiding judge said the suspension was also caused by a petition filed by Hamas protesting the inability of Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem to vote. The PA claims eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, but Israel maintains sovereignty over the entirety of the city, thus precluding Palestinians in the area from voting in a PA election. In his decision, the judge said, “The election can’t take place in Jerusalem and its neighborhoods. Elections can’t take place in one [location] and not the other.”
The vote has been postponed until, at the very least, mid-December.
These would have been the first democratic elections in a decade between Fatah and Hamas.
Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmi called Hamas’ actions and petitions “unjustified” and said it holds Hamas responsible for “foiling the election.”
Meanwhile, Hamas senior spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused the court of being “politically motivated” and halting the election process in order to “rescue” Fatah from, what Hamas believes would have been, an overwhelming loss.