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To emphasize a point I made earlier today, the AP reports that Palestinians have begun voting in municipal elections across most of the territories today -- and are expected to deal the so-called moderates of Fatah a blow. Election observers expect a big mandate for Hamas, and even PA president Mahmoud Abbas tried to cut a deal with the terror organization to delay mid-summer parliamentary elections in the face of withering public support for Fatah:
Palestinians voted for local governments in dozens of towns and villages across the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Thursday in a contest that is expected to boost the Islamic militant group Hamas and could foreshadow results of parliamentary elections in July.
The ruling Fatah party of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, plagued by allegations of corruption after 10 years in power, is increasingly concerned Hamas will rout it in local voting and in the national election.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas recently proposed to Hamas to delay the parliament vote until the end of the year in exchange for bringing the opposition group into his Cabinet now, senior Hamas officials said Thursday. Hassan Yousef, a Hamas leader in the West Bank, said the group rejected the offer.
Another bad sign for Fatah is the heavy voter turnout, as opposed to the embarassingly light turnout for the presidential election, which Hamas boycotted. It took the dismantling of identification processes and a two-hour repeat run on polling stations by Fatah members to get the turnout in January's election from 30% to 70%. In contrast, 35% of Palestinians had already voted in the first few hours of these elections, and the turnout may exceed that of the bogus presidential results.
The AP attempts to spin this as a vote on local issues, not on international politics or war. It sounds similar to the old canard that Germans supported the Nazis because the trains ran on time. If the AP analysis held water, then Abbas would not be playing Monty Hall with Hamas, trying to get them to join his Cabinet and push off July's parliamentary elections, which will almost certainly result in strong Hamas domination. Abbas knows this and understands what it means -- the marginalization of Fatah and the succession to power of the really fanatical terrorists (as opposed to the mainstream terrorists of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade).
When given the choice at the ballot box, the Palestinian electorate has consistently chosen terrorism and war over negotiation and peace. They still want to wipe Israel off the map. When negotiation and peace start winning elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, then people like Abbas will be able to disarm the terrorists and reach a peace accord with Israel. Until that day, a series of temporary cease-fires will be the best anyone can do.Sphere It View blog reactions
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