Marking the 23rd anniversary of the founding of Hamas, the Prime Minister of the deposed government of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, claimed on Tuesday that in the next elections, ‘Hamas will get the West Bank and Gaza with more votes than before,’ Ma’an News reported.In a speech that was held in the Katiba Square of Gaza City and gathered thousands of supporters of Hamas, Haniyeh emphasized the differences between Hamas and Fatah, especially with regard to the failed peace process and the relations with Israel.
‘Hamas will not recognize Israel, as long as it continues to occupy Palestinian lands,’ he declared, referring to the comments published in the Hebrew press saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would only stop settlement building if Mahmoud Abbas recognized Israel as a Jewish state.
Haniyeh also added that there is no point in continuing with the talks with Israel and asked the P.A. to leave the negotiation table and to focus on the Palestinian unity.
‘We will never run from reconciliation, we are moving close just as Fatah is moving closer, and we care as much as Fatah cares,’ he expressed, asking Fatah an effort to solve discrepancies with regard to the Egyptian reconciliation paper.
The Hamas leader remarked that to reach a deal on security coordination between the two political factions, P.A. forces should stop arresting Hamas leaders in the West Bank, due to in his opinion; the campaign of detentions is not helping the reconciliation.
However, the criticism to Fatah went further, as Haniyeh stressed the recent statement of the Supreme Court in Ramallah, which considered that the Palestinian Authority’s decision to postpone local elections in the West Bank was illegal.
The municipal elections, which were set to be held in 17 June, were postponed by the P.A. cabinet a week before.
According to what the Ministry of Local Government stated at that time, the decision came after the Israeli attack of the Freedom Flotilla in May and as a result of the petition of some Arab nations and “friends in the world” who asked to “pave the way for a successful end to the siege on Gaza and for continued efforts at unity,” the Alternative Information Center quoted.
However, most of the political parties, as well as civil and cultural associations, condemned the decision and requested for an immediate new date for elections, that has not been established yet.
In his speech, Haniyeh referred to the Supreme Court’s decision and claimed that in the next elections, and under fair conditions, Hamas would win in all Palestinian areas.