Fatah Discusses Preparations for Palestinian Elections, Hamas Stresses ‘Integrity’

About 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron under the protection of the Israeli army, while nearly 200,000 Palestinians live in the city's environs. (EPA)
About 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron under the protection of the Israeli army, while nearly 200,000 Palestinians live in the city's environs. (EPA)
TT

Fatah Discusses Preparations for Palestinian Elections, Hamas Stresses ‘Integrity’

About 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron under the protection of the Israeli army, while nearly 200,000 Palestinians live in the city's environs. (EPA)
About 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron under the protection of the Israeli army, while nearly 200,000 Palestinians live in the city's environs. (EPA)

Fatah Movement has discussed with Palestine Liberation Organization factions the formation of a joint list for the upcoming elections, said Fatah Central Committee (FCC) member Azzam al-Ahmad.

He noted, however, that no decision has yet been taken, pending a meeting in Cairo with the rest of the factions in February.

In his comments to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), Ahmad said that the idea of a joint coalition that would bring together Fatah and Hamas in one list has sparked controversy in Palestine.

“Some people strongly supported such a list, which others rejected and many Palestinians wondered who would compete with the list, since they are the two major factions and the competition is supposed to take place between them.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will chair on Sunday an FCC meeting to discuss Fatah’s preparedness for the elections and the voting process.

According to Ahmad, the meeting will try to answer these questions: “How will we participate in the elections? What is required from the leadership and regulatory bodies? What standards will be set? What are the administrative, leadership and security measures required for the success of these polls? Is there a possibility to participate in joint lists?

The Central Committee will form several committees to follow up the implementation of the decisions taken at the meeting.

Meanwhile, Hamas has been carrying out internal discussions prior to Cairo’s meeting.

Hamas’s politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh has stressed the significant role of the United Nations and the international community in the upcoming elections, especially in ensuring the integrity of procedures, arrangements and freedom of voting, as well as pressuring Israel to “not hinder the electoral process, especially in Jerusalem.”

Haniyeh pointed out that the elections will open the door for ending division, bolstering the principle of partnership and protecting the national project, which is facing great challenges.

Fatah governs the West Bank while Hamas rules the Gaza Strip since the 2007 division.

Palestinians hope the legislative elections would be the beginning of this division’s end and a mean to unify Palestinian institutions in the West Bank and Gaza.

On Jan. 15, Abbas signed a decree setting legislative elections for May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31, in what would be the first Palestinian polls in 15 years.

Fatah immediately called for the widest participation in the elections, while Hamas called for overcoming all obstacles.

In order to make the general elections a success, all factions will participate in a Palestinian national dialogue in Cairo scheduled to take place in early February.

During the meeting, factions will discuss the arrangements required to carry out elections on time, create the necessary political, media and security conditions and sign an honor pact in which they pledge to respect the results of the polls.



Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
TT

Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israeli tanks advanced to the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp in the northwest of the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday in fierce fighting with Hamas-led fighters, residents said.
Images of two Israeli tanks stationed on a hilltop overlooking the coastal area went viral on social media, but Reuters could not independently verify them.

"The fighting with the resistance has been intense. The occupation forces are overlooking the Mawasi area now, which forced families there to head for Khan Younis," said one resident, who asked not to be named, on a chat app.

More than eight months into Israel's war in the Hamas-administered Palestinian enclave, its advance is focused on the two areas its forces have yet to seize: Rafah on Gaza's southern tip and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the center.

Residents said Israeli tanks had pushed deeper into western and northern Rafah in recent days, blowing up dozens of houses.

The Israeli military said it was continuing "intelligence-based, targeted operations" in the Rafah area and had located weapons stores and tunnel shafts, and killed Palestinian gunmen.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement said their fighters had attacked Israeli forces in Rafah with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs and pre-planted explosive devices.

Elsewhere, an Israeli airstrike killed eight Palestinians in Sabra, a suburb of Gaza City in the north, and another strike killed two people in Nuseirat in central Gaza.

The military said it had struck dozens of targets throughout the Strip.

On Saturday, Palestinian health officials said at least 40 Palestinians had been killed in separate Israeli strikes in some northern Gaza districts, where the Israeli army said it had attacked Hamas's military infrastructure. Hamas said the targets were the civilian population.

In Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, health officials at Kamal Adwan Hospital said a baby had died of malnutrition, taking the number of children dead of malnutrition or dehydration since Oct. 7 to at least 30, a number that health officials say reflects under-recording.