The Fateh primaries were far from being an internal event. Israel was closely watching the elections because their outcome would more or less decide on future endeavors between the two sides given that Fateh is the leading party in the PA.
Israeli journalist Arnon Regular, Haaretz’ West Bank and Gaza Strip correspondent met with PNN and said, “The Israeli press and writers covered the primaries on a wide scale as if they were an Israeli affair because this is about what is going on with our neighbors.”
Regular continued, “I personally am following the primaries like I would follow the Likud elections. My work as a journalist and analyst obliges me to cover the primaries as if they were an internal Israeli affair.”
The Israeli journalist said that according to the results of the election in some West Bank areas and the failure to hold these elections in Gaza shows that, “Fateh is in a very dangerous situation. This gives evidence to the claim that Fateh will not be the political reference in any transitional or permanent solution with the Israelis. Logic dictates that if Fateh failed at putting its own house in order then how will it be the reference for issues much larger than elections?”
Commenting on the affect these elections will have on Hamas’ strength in the upcoming PLC elections, Regular said, “I think the only winner in these elections will be Hamas. It will get 50-60 of the 132 seats. This indicates that there must be another partner for any solution to work.”
He continued, “If Israel really wants to proceed in the political process, then it must consider the current situation and deal with the reality, even if this partner is Hamas.”
Regular gave an example of this in Gaza. “After the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the European Union was forced to deal with Hamas in order for the citrus project, which covered 4,000 Dunams, to succeed. They received an agreement from Hamas to protect the project so the produce could be exported outside Gaza. The EU did not take on the project until it received Hamas’ agreement to maintain the continuity and success of the project. This proves that there is a player on the field to be reckoned with.”
The Haaretz correspondent concluded by saying, “The irony of the Palestinians’ situation is their political reality. While I was in Gaza, I heard Fateh activists saying, ‘If you want the primaries in Gaza to succeed, you will have to bring the Al Qassam Brigades (Hamas’ military wing) to safeguard the ballot boxes.”