Hamas launches 'Jerusalem Is Our Promise' list for May Palestinian legislative elections

Hamas launches 'Jerusalem Is Our Promise' list for May Palestinian legislative elections
Hamas has submitted its candidate list for May's Palestinian elections amid Israeli targeting of its leaders.
3 min read
Hamas submits Palestine election candidate list [Anadolu Agency/Getty]

Gaza-based Hamas has unveiled its "Jerusalem Is Our Promise" candidates list for upcoming Palestinian elections, ending speculation that a joint list would be formed with rivals Fatah which runs the West Bank.

Legislative polls have been called for 22 May and a presidential vote on 31 July, the first Palestinian elections in 15 years.

The move, officially initiated in January by an executive order from President Mahmoud Abbas has been viewed with intense scepticism from rivals, who view it as an attempt by the Fatah leader to save his own political skin.

Hamas won a surprise victory in the 2006 elections, but the result was not recognised by Fatah - intensifying divisions between the two Palestinian political blocs.

Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007 after a week of bloody clashes, while Fatah retained control of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The rival movements have jointly agreed to hold elections, hoping the process could foster unity and restore international confidence in the Palestinian political system.

"We hope these elections will offer a path to end the division," Hamas official Khalil al-Haya said as the Islamist movement submitted their list of candidates in Gaza City.

He acknowledged there had been discussions on forging a unified list with Fatah but the prospect was "difficult and now out of reach".

Al-Haya will head the Hamas list, spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanoa said.

Al-Haya said the Hamas list included "a dozen" women, in the latest step by the Islamists towards broader female participation in its political wing.

Work on the joint national list stalled after staunch objections from Israel and others, The New Arab’s Arabic-language service reported.

Senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub said on Saturday that the movement was committed to running candidates independently of Hamas.

"Fatah will enter this electoral fight alone and we have not sought to present a common list," he said.

Jamal Al-Tawil, a Hamas leader in the West Bank, spoke to The New Arab about Israel's recent targeting of the group's leadership, with a wave of arrests.

"The occupation inserts itself into the details of our lives, into every aspect of them, but we will not submit to these efforts," Al-Tawil said.

"In this, we have an example - our martyr, Omar Barghouti (Abu Asif), who was warned not to run by the occupation, but who sided with his people and insisted on running for elections."

Palestinian factions have until midnight Wednesday to submit their list of candidates for the 132-member Palestinian Legislative Council.

Officials with the electoral commission said 15 factions had submitted lists as of Monday. Five have been approved while the rest were being examined.

The approved lists are to be unveiled on 6 April and the campaigning period will run from 30 April to 20 May.

Mohammed Dahlan, who is living in exile in the UAE and has accused Abbas of seeking to silence dissent to stay in power, on Monday submitted his "List of the Future".

Dahlan had been the Palestinian Authority's security chief in Gaza before falling out with the president.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected