Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been warned that Hamas is about to win local elections in Judea and Samaria in a landslide and urged to cancel them, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Friday.

But despite those warnings, Abbas is determined to go through with the elections, according to the report.

The local elections are scheduled to take place in about six weeks and, while polls indicate a close race, the younger more militant generation of Palestinian Arabs which studies in universities favors Hamas wins by a large margin, Channel 2 reported. The channel noted that polls before the 2006 elections in Gaza also failed to predict Hamas’s decisive victory in that vote.

Officials in Abbas’s Fatah party reportedly warned the PA chairman, “Do not hold these elections, you will present the West Bank to Hamas on a silver platter.” Abbas has ignored these calls, however, and is planning to go ahead with the election as planned in October.

Hamas and Fatah, of course, have been engaged in a war since Hamas won those 2006 Gaza elections – a back-and-forth which has continued despite a unity agreement signed in April 2014 which sought to end seven years of bad blood.

A unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed last June when Abbas decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.

In March, the two political parties held reconciliation talks in Doha, with Fatah and Hamas delegations discussing implementations of a viable reconciliation agreement. But those talks stalled and another round was later put on hold.

The sides have continuously made accusations against one another as reconciliation attempts have failed, with PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah criticizing Hamas for creating a shadow government in Gaza and blocking efforts to reach political unity.

The Channel 2 report also noted that the PA security forces are trying to intimidate some Hamas candidates in Judea and Samaria by arresting them.

One of Hamas’s longstanding accusations against Fatah is that Abbas’s party is executing a plan to "eradicate" the movement from Judea and Samaria. Hamas has said that an arrest campaign of over 200 members was carried out by the PA in an attempt to torpedo reconciliation efforts between the two factions.

Israel is also concerned that a Hamas win in the Judea and Samaria vote would undermine the legitimacy of the PA, Channel 2 said.

Despite these concerns, the report stressed, Israel is refraining from directly getting involved in the elections.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)