Hamas on Monday organized what was described as a broad “consultative meeting” to discuss local elections in the Gaza Strip, reported the Times of Israel.
The meeting was attended by dozens of political and civil figures who emphasized the importance of the step, the report said.
Hamas indicated it viewed the step as a prelude to holding general elections throughout Palestinian Authority-assigned territories in Gaza and Judea and Samaria.
Zakaria Abu Muammar, head of Hamas’ National Relations Office, said at the meeting, “Hamas, with this inclusive meeting, is looking to build a national consensus among the people and the factions in the Gaza Strip to support local elections.”
“These elections will be an important and pivotal step to build towards a larger national consensus, and consolidate the unity of the Palestinian people and their lands,” he added.
While Hamas and other Palestinian Arab factions have pushed for elections in Judea and Samaria, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has not heeded their call.
PA elections were scheduled for 2021, but Abbas officially announced that they would be postponed.
While the PA chairman cited Israel’s refusal to allow Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote as the reason for the postponement, many believe that the real reason is Abbas’ fear that he would lose the elections to Hamas.
Abbas' term as PA chairman was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.
No PA elections have taken place since 2006 and similar initiatives in the past have failed to result in elections.