Fatah and Hamas agree to hold general elections in Palestine

Fatah and Hamas agree to hold general elections in Palestine
Palestine’s two main political parties, Fatah and Hamas, have agreed to hold general elections within the next six months. (File/AFP)
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Updated 24 September 2020

Fatah and Hamas agree to hold general elections in Palestine

Fatah and Hamas agree to hold general elections in Palestine
  • The official Palestinian news agency quoted Rajoub as saying that the elections will take place at three stages within six months
  • Hamas’ spokesman in Gaza said the meeting confirmed the basis of a new initiative aimed at forging a policy course “based on unity and power-sharing”

AMMAN: Palestine’s two main political parties, Fatah and Hamas, have agreed to hold general elections within the next six months, they announced on Thursday.
A press release issued after a meeting held at the Palestinian Embassy in Istanbul said the two delegations had reached “a unified vision.”
“We agree that the vision has matured and we plan to move ahead with a nationwide dialogue with the participation of all factions under the patronage of President (Mahmoud) Abbas to take place before the first of October,” the statement said.
Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of the Fatah Central Committee, told Palestine TV that the heads of all factions will meet soon in Ramallah and that that meeting will be followed by the issuance of a presidential decree announcing the elections.
The official Palestinian news agency quoted Rajoub as saying that the elections will take place at three stages within six months. “We will have legislative elections, followed by presidential elections and then elections for the Palestine National Council wherever possible.”
Hamas’ spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, said the meeting in Istanbul confirmed the basis of a new initiative aimed at forging a policy course “based on unity and power-sharing.”
Najeeb Qadoumi, a member of the Palestine National Council, told Arab News: “The meeting reflects the feeling among Palestinians that the Palestinian cause is in being liquidated based on the American-Israeli vision and that only through unity and the legitimization of elections can we stand up to this conspiracy against the Palestinian cause.”
Gaza-based activist Wael Alloush told the Ramallah-based Ajyal radio station: “The last time elections were held was in 2006. It will be an important but new activity for many Palestinians.”
Ammar Dweek of the Independence Commission on Human Rights said that external pressure has forced Palestinians to unite. “The situation has matured for elections because everyone realizes they will be totally isolated without the legitimacy of elections,” he said.
Hazem Kawasmi, a member of the board of Al-Marsad (the Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor), told Arab News that he has suggested to President Abbas that elections should be based on two constituencies — national and Jerusalem. “The idea is that this would be a one-time activity that will highlight the issue of Jerusalem,” he clarified.
Kawasmi expects that Israel would be strongly opposed to that idea, but said, “We will have to fight it on the diplomatic and public relations fronts.”
Jamal Zakout, who was the assistant to former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, told Arab News that he is still skeptical that elections will take place.
“Everyone is waiting for the results of the US elections,” he said. “Then they will decide for sure whether or not to have elections here.”


UK slams ‘illegal’ Israeli settlement plans 

The UK’s minister for the Middle East and North Africa on Monday slammed the Israeli government’s plans to expand settlements in the West Bank. (Reuters/File Photo)
The UK’s minister for the Middle East and North Africa on Monday slammed the Israeli government’s plans to expand settlements in the West Bank. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 48 min 12 sec ago

UK slams ‘illegal’ Israeli settlement plans 

The UK’s minister for the Middle East and North Africa on Monday slammed the Israeli government’s plans to expand settlements in the West Bank. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • Britain ‘seriously concerned’ by decision to approve 780 new units in West Bank

LONDON: The UK’s minister for the Middle East and North Africa on Monday slammed the Israeli government’s plans to expand settlements in the West Bank.

In a statement issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), James Cleverly said the UK is “seriously concerned by Israel’s decision to approve 780 new settlement units in the West Bank. We urge Israel not to proceed with their construction.” 

He added: “Settlements are illegal under international law and risk undermining the physical viability of the two state solution.”

The new plans were announced on Monday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Sunday, a government committee moved to ratify the construction of some 365 homes while giving preliminary approval for another 415, according to Israeli anti-settlement campaign group Peace Now.

An FCDO spokesman called for the construction of settlements “in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank to cease immediately.”

In November, Cleverly criticized Israel’s decision to start proceedings for the construction of 1,257 settlement homes in Givat HaMatos.