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Hamas Predicts Sweeping Electoral Victory

Pumped up on Islamic gains at the polls in the Arab Spring, Hamas expects to take Ramallah by storm in May.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/26/2011, 10:04 PM

Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar said Sunday that he expected the Islamic terror movement would "win a sweeping victory" in upcoming PA legislative elections scheduled for May.

Zahar is confident Hamas will improve on their 2006 election victory, where they won 74 of an available 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Analysts say a sweeping victory for Hamas in next year's electoral election would put the terror enclave firmly in control of PA enclaves in Judea and Samara.  Such a scenario, they say, and could force Israel to take high-profile steps dismantle the increasingly moribund Oslo Accords.

Zahar made the remarks during an interview with London based pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper – adding Hamas had yet to settle on a presidential candidate.

Asked whether Hamas is an offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood, Zahhar deflected the question saying "there is no need for such a debate, what is important is the cultural project."

"We don’t interfere in the internal affairs of Arab countries because we believe that one day we will receive support from Arab and Islamic countries in order to realize our goals.”

Zahar – a Cairo academic – and other founding members of Hamas were closely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood before they founded Hamas in the 1980’s.

Zahar said a movement like the Arab Spring becomes "inevitable" when Arab and Islamic countries experience "oppression, injustice, occupation and hunger."

He added that organizations in the Arab world should establish a "federal union" tapping into youth movements as a way of influencing regional politics.

"This movement should believe in its religion and recruit all those who serve their homeland’s interests in order to be able to reform the nation.”

In 2006 elections, Hamas defeated the Fatah movement, which had long-dominated PA politics and then seized Gaza in a violent putsch in 2007.

Hamas has used the coastal enclave to stage numerous terror attacks and fire thousands of rockets and mortars on Israeli communities.

Last week Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal announced Hamas and its terror confederates would join the PLO ahead of forming a national unity government.

Despite Hamas’ much-hailed new political pragmatism, both Hamas and the PLO maintain 'armed resistance' is the only path to an 'indivisible Palestine' - leaving no room for the Jewish state.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the induction of Hamas into the PLO meant peace negotiations were now impossible.