Maher Abukhater
The Los Angeles Times
May 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas announced Monday its decision to boycott the municipal elections slated for the West Bank on July 17, citing the fact that holding elections at this time will only increase the Palestinian division. The Palestinian faction, which controls the Gaza Strip, also said that arrests and harassment of its West Bank members does not make it possible for it to participate in the elections.

“While security forces of the Oslo team [the Palestinian Authority] in coordination with the Zionist enemy are waging a fierce battle against the resistance groups in the West Bank, particularly Hamas, through political arrests, dismissal from work, banning union and student activities, closure of dozens of social and welfare organizations… the illegal government of the Oslo team calls for municipal election on July 17 neglecting Palestinian national harmony and the importance that elections should be a result of national reconciliation,” Hamas said in a statement.

“As a result, we in Hamas and after studying the matter of municipal elections in the West Bank, announce our decision to boycott and not take any part in the municipal elections,” the group said.

Hamas said it holds Fatah and the Palestinian Authority “fully responsible for the grave consequences that will have negative impact on the national Palestinian arena and will increase political division.”

The Islamic Jihad has also decided to boycott the elections and said in a separate statement Monday that holding elections and “announcing them unilaterally without national accord will only increase and worsen internal division.”

The group condemned what it called “the oppression of the Palestinian Authority security forces of members of the Jihad and other resistance movements.”


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017