- N.C. math whiz to unveil secret of March Madness picks
- An appealing offer: Chiquita merges with Fyffes to make world’s largest banana firm
- Amnesty International says Syria guilty of war crimes for food blockade
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: ‘We are going to crush them’
- Adam Lanza’s dad: He would’ve killed me ‘in a heartbeat’
- North Korea holds election: 100% turnout, Kim Jong-un gets — 100% of vote
- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
Palestinians hold local elections in West Bank
Hamas has prevented the local vote from taking place in Gaza. It argues that any elections must wait until after a broader reconciliation deal with Abbas. The movement also says its candidates in the West Bank would risk being targeted by Israeli troops and Abbas‘ security forces. Critics contend Hamas also opposes elections in Gaza because it does not want to give its largely vanquished rivals, particularly from Fatah, a new foothold.
Elections for local councils, parliament and president are long overdue in the Palestinian territories. Local elections were last held in 2004 and 2005, and Hamas won control of several main cities at the time.
Abbas came to power in presidential elections in 2005, and Hamas defeated Fatah in parliament elections in 2006. After the political split broke wide open, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, the two sides failed to agree on the terms for new elections.
Elected politicians in both camps have been losing legitimacy because they overstayed their mandates. At the same time, holding general elections in just the West Bank or Gaza was not seen as an option because it would cement the split.
In calling local elections in the West Bank, Fatah hoped to renew voter support, without appearing to harden the rift with Gaza. It was also one of the few remaining options for Abbas, whose various strategies have run into brick walls.
“They are flailing in all directions,” Nathan Brown, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank. “They can’t go to the international community for financial support. They can’t do (general) elections. They can’t do reconciliation. So (they say) let’s at least do municipal elections.”
Associated Press writer Dalia Nammari in Beit Sahour contributed report.
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Investigators puzzle: How does a 777 jetliner just disappear into thin air?
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- As Crimea falls, Obama takes Key Largo golf vacation, Biden hits Virgin Islands
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CURL: Today's GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- Adam Lanza's dad: He would've killed me 'in a heartbeat'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again