Sharon Warns Against Hamas Participation in PA Election

PM Sharon says that Israel will "make every effort not to help" the election process if Hamas terrorists run for seats, contrary to Oslo, in the PA legislature. Abbas: None of Israel's business.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 3:16 PM

The Palestinian Authority's legislative elections are scheduled for January 25, 2006. Hamas, whose terrorists have murdered hundreds of Israelis in recent years, has done well in local PA elections, and is planning to try its hand for the first time in general elections. It is expected to do well.

"We will never agree that this armed terrorist organization will participate in the elections," Sharon told a group of U.S. journalists on Friday. He said that if Hamas is allowed to participate, Israel will not lift roadblocks or take other measures to ease Palestinian elections.

"I don't see how they can have elections without our help," Sharon said. "We will make every effort not to help them in their elections."

Sharon said Hamas must give up its arms and renounce its goal of destroying Israel as outlined in its charter.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) rejected Sharon's ultimatum, saying today that the PA elections are an "internal Palestinian matter."

Not true, states Alex Safian, associate director of Camera, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. He writes that Sharon's demand is nothing more than a long-standing Oslo Accord clause obligating the Palestinian Authority. Annex 2 of the Interim Agreement, for example, clearly requires the PA to bar terror groups such as Hamas from the electoral process. It states,
"The nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions will be refused [and] canceled, if such candidates, parties or coalitions: (1) commit or advocate racism; or (2) pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or nondemocratic means."

Abbas has promised to rein in terrorism, but actually signed a deal with Hamas recently that did not require the group's disarming. A Hamas rally this week celebrating Israel's retreat from Gaza drew tens of thousands of people, many of them armed, in Gaza City's main square. Abbas promised last week to have just "one authority, one legitimate gun, one law," but has not taken measures to this end.

At least two dozen Gazan Arabs were injured in violent clashes last week between Hamas and Fatah/Palestinian security forces in northern Gaza.