Fatah Ready to Take On Hamas in May

Fatah says its ready to take on Hamas at the polls in May as both groups race to impress the public with their anti-Israel credentials.

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Gabe Kahn.,

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The Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Monday it is ready for presidential and parliamentary elections slated for May 2012.

Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmi said the movement is proud of its national and political achievements and the sacrifices it has made to protect Palestinian unity.

“We believe that our people’s awareness will be the decider, we don’t deal with illusions and we don’t cite for fake slogans. We participated in building the institutions of the Palestinian state,” al-Qawasmi said.

"The Palestinian people have learnt from past experiences and can distinguish between political parties working for the people and those working only to benefit their faction," he added.

After meeting Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal for reconciliation talks in Cairo last month, Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas said he "hoped" elections would be held in May 2012.

Fatah's timing in issuing its statement that is was ready for elections is widely seen by analysts as a rejection of Hamas' claims to populist primacy.

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar said Sunday that his movement would win a sweeping victory in any upcoming legislative elections.

Both movements have been seeking to win public support by banging the unilateralist drums, saying there will be no compromise with Israel, and promising renewed 'popular resistance' against the Jewish state.

For Israel whether or not Hamas wins at the polls is immaterial to relations with the Palestinian Authority.  

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said Hamas’ induction to the PLO alone is sufficient to scuttle any hopes of peace talks.