PA May Cancel Elections – Blames Hamas

The Palestinian Authority says it will cancel elections slated for May 4 if reconciliation with Hamas fails

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Gabe Kahn.,

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority may cancel presidential and parliamentary elections slated for May 4 as reconciliation with Hamas hits the skids.

"If the status quo remains between Fatah and Hamas regarding the reconciliation standstill, the PNA will cancel the elections," an unnamed official in Ramallah told Gulf News on Monday.

“Hamas was forced into unity talks with Fatah after the Arab Spring conditions changed regional realities. Hamas has no real intention for reconciliation,” the official added.

Fatah alleges Hamas prefers the current status quo whereby almost half of the donations received by 'Palestinian' organizations goes to Gaza without their having to fulfill their commitments under the reconciliation agreement.

"Why should Hamas do anything to achieve unity?" the source asked, adding that living conditions are far better in the Gaza than in PA enclaves in Judea and Samaria.

However, observers say Fatah's motives for cancelling elections may be fear of Hamas gains. The terror organization enjoys a strong position in the polls and could be set to win a major victory should elections be held.

PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who currently holds the PA presidency, is three years past the end of his term without elections being held out of fears of a Hamas win at the polls. While Abbas has signaled he will not stand for re-election, analysts say he wants a successor from his own ranks.

"The government in the West Bank is paying salaries to employees in Gaza, and prices in Gaza are 70 per cent cheaper than in the West Bank," he said. "This is not fair."

The official’s claims run contrary to anti-Israeli assertions that Gaza is a deeply impoverished 'prison camp.' IDF officials note the Karnei crossing is never at full capacity despite all aid requests being met.

Further, residents in Gaza exported surplus aid to east Africa during Ramadan as a part of a larger charity campaign. Local merchants and farmers have long complained that their economic woes are rooted in an inability to export.

IDF officials, however, say they have made extensive efforts to accommodate exports from Gaza, which has expanded to include not only crops, but manufactured goods such as furniture.

The source also told Gulf News that a committee commissioned in Cairo to look into the implementation of the reconciliation deal has not done any follow-up work.

An Egyptian delegation who was supposed to visit the West Bank and Gaza on February 2 has cancelled after expressing dissatisfaction and pessimism over the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, which is widely believed to be unreachable.