Hamas Blocks Elections In Gaza

The Montreal Gazette today reported on the Palestinian Authority's Central Elections Commission's decision to cancel local elections in Gaza.

As told in the Gazette (emphasis is ours):

Palestinian local elections in October will only be held in the West Bank as Hamas is hampering preparations in Gaza, a senior electoral official said Wednesday.

Speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, the official said the government had informed the Central Elections Commission (CEC) of a decision taken earlier on Wednesday.

…The issue was the subject of a special cabinet session earlier on Wednesday after the CEC sent a letter to say it was proving impossible to prepare for elections in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, the official said.

"We sent a letter to the government to say we cannot work in Gaza to prepare for the elections. Until now, Hamas has prevented the elections committee from doing its work in Gaza. Our staff cannot work because our offices are closed and they have confiscated our cars."

After the signing of a unity deal between Fatah and Hamas in May, elections had been rescheduled from July to October. The original vote, scheduled for January of 2010, was cancelled – in part due to Hamas' refusal to conduct them.
 
Today's announcement further confirms the instability – and inherent lack of viability – of the Hamas-Fatah unity agreement.
 
As Fatah tells the world it's ready for peace, Hamas stockpiles weapons.
 
As Fatah claims it supports a state on the 1967 borders, Hamas pledges to destroy all of Israel.
 
And as Fatah attempts to proceed with elections, Hamas shuts down election workers.
 
The people of Gaza deserve freedom, democracy, and peaceful leadership – and not the radical Hamas regime. It's time the world urged Fatah to choose reconciliation and peace with Israel, and end its alliance with Hamas.
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