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The dangerous decision to 'postpone' the election is Palestine's moment of reckoning

8 6 4
04.05.2021

The decision on 30 April by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to "postpone" this month's legislative election, which would have been the first in 15 years, will deepen the political division in occupied Palestine and could, potentially, signal the collapse of the Fatah Movement, at least in its current form.

Unlike the previous Palestinian parliamentary election in 2006, the big story this time was not the Fatah-Hamas rivalry. Many rounds of talks in recent months between representatives of Palestine's two largest political parties had already sorted out many of the details regarding the now-cancelled voting process, which was scheduled to begin on 22 May.

Israel is arresting Hamas members ahead of the election – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Israel is arresting Hamas members ahead of the election – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Both Fatah and Hamas have much to gain from an election, with the former relishing the opportunity to restore its long-dissipated legitimacy as it has ruled over the occupied territories through its dominance of the Palestinian Authority with no democratic mandate whatsoever. Hamas, on the other hand, is desperate to break away from its long and painful isolation exemplified by the Israeli-led siege on the Gaza Strip, which ironically resulted from its victory in the 2006 legislative election.

It was not Israeli and American pressure that made Abbas betray the collective wishes of a whole nation. Such pressure from Tel Aviv and Washington was real and reported widely, but must also have been expected. Moreover, Abbas could easily have circumvented it as his election decree, announced in January, was welcomed by Palestinians and praised by much of the international community.

Abbas's unfortunate but, frankly, predictable decision was justified........

© Middle East Monitor


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