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Hamas Accuses Israel of Arresting its Activists to Influence Elections

Hamas Accuses Israel of Arresting its Activists to Influence Elections

Wednesday, 3 March, 2021 - 10:00
A sign point to the Palestinian Central Elections Commission regional office in Gaza. (Reuters)

The arrests by Israeli forces of university students, who back Hamas, aims to undermine the determination of the youth, who will play a pivotal role in the upcoming elections, said the movement on Tuesday.

It is also an attempt to impact the elections results by silencing active and influential figures, it added.

The reconciliation and partnership processes are a national priority, Hamas said, stressing that it will end the internal division and launch a comprehensive national struggle program to confront the Israeli occupation and settlements.

It further called on “all the free people around the world and the parliaments of democratic and friendly countries to impose sanctions” on Israel that has been “targeting Palestinian democracy for years.”

“The arrests are part of an occupation policy followed since 2006 and based on undermining Palestinian political life and excluding a major and active Palestinian party that has been nationally legitimized,” it said.

Israel has launched an almost daily campaign of arrests in the West Bank and has recently targeted Hamas activists and leaders.

In February, Israeli forces escalated a campaign targeting lawmakers in the Palestinian Legislative Council and leaders of the factions, Hamas-affiliated media outlets have reported.

They recalled a previous campaign during which Israel arrested more than a third of lawmakers, including Speaker Aziz Dweik, after the 2006 elections.

Hamas has threatened to prevent Israel from interfering in the upcoming Palestinian elections, scheduled for May 22.

Media advisor to the leader of Hamas, Taher al-Nounou, said in statements to Al-Aqsa channel that the movement can force Israel not to meddle in the elections, stressing it “has alternatives and means to enable it to do so.”

He did not elaborate.

The movement had previously resorted to field escalation, especially in the Gaza Strip, as part of pressure on Israel to respond to its demands.

Palestinian factions and independent candidates are preparing to run in the legislative elections that will be held for the first time in 16 years.

Fatah has decided to go forward in the upcoming elections to achieve national unity, end division, revive democratic practices and activate the legislative authority of the Palestinian people, Fatah deputy chief Mahmoud al-Aloul explained on Tuesday.

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