The Hamas party, which won elections in 2006 but was prevented from forming a government in the West Bank, announced Saturday that it is working on an initiative to restore national unity with its main rival party, Fateh.Fateh, which is backed by the US and Israel, currently holds power in the West Bank, while Hamas, labeled by the West as a terrorist entity for the group’s past attacks on civilians, formed its government in Gaza in 2007. Although new elections were supposed to take place last year, the Palestinian Authority led by Fateh in the West Bank prevented the elections from taking place.
After recent events in the Arab world, however, the Fateh-led Authority was pressured to announce elections, which they say will take place in September.
Despite the presence of political parties and elections, the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza do not have control over their own governance, as they live under martial law imposed by the Israeli military since 1967.
Sami Abu Zuhri, the spokesman for the Hamas party, told reporters on Saturday, ‘We are preparing a comprehensive national initiative that aims at rearranging the Palestinian internal situation to regain the national unity”.
Hundreds of Palestinians were killed in internal fighting between Hamas and Fateh in 2006 and 2007, and the parties have both expressed their hope that such an outbreak of violence will not occur again.