Hamas has rejected the decision by the Palestinian Authority to hold crucial municipal elections this July.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced the elections for the West Bank in what is being seen as a bid to boost his Fatah faction. It would be the first major vote since Fatah was pummeled by the Islamic Hamas movement in the 2006 national elections.
But Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, said elections, even municipal ones, should not be held until a reconciliation agreement is reached between the deeply split Hamas and Fatah. It remains to be seen whether Hamas will boycott the move, thus guaranteeing that Fatah candidates will reclaim areas where Hamas won. While this may be good for Fatah in the West Bank, Hamas would probably prevent them from taking place in Gaza, thus keeping Fatah from gaining strength there. Repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed and Israeli security sources have said they don’t believe any elections will take place this year.