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With elections looming, Fatah suffers from a divide.

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Mahmoud Abbas has canceled elections in the past. If they occur, Fatah could be in trouble, strengthening Hamas’s ties in the West Bank. However, it is important to explain who the main candidates are, their chances of success, and how the West may respond.

Israel opposes elections with Hamas.

Call it Deja-vu if you will, but Israel has seen this before. In 2006, Fatah was expected to win in a major landslide against the Islamist terror group. However, this never came to fruition as Hamas stunned Fatah, leaving officials reeling. Since then, Abbas has canceled elections to ensure that he and Fatah remain in power in the West Bank. Despite stifling political growth of the Palestinian’s, Abbas’s Soviet-style politics is viewed to be a defense mechanism against a greater evil in Hamas. The Israeli’s, to some extent, believe this as well. That is why the Shin Bet begged Abbas to cancel the upcoming elections with Hamas. Abbas replied: “I do not work for you” and that Israel “created Hamas”[1] Israel fears that the internal strife within Fatah will allow Hamas to prevail. As a result, a victory for Hamas would pose a significant security threat to Israel.

Old Rivals Challenge Abbas

A few weeks ago, an unprecedented 36 factions registered for the May 22nd Palestinian elections. These registrations highlight a divide within Fatah. Among those who registered were Marwan Barghouti and Nasser al-Kidwa. Marwan is currently serving five consecutive life sentences for facilitating terrorist attacks against Israel during the second Intifada. Al-Kidwa, the nephew of former........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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