Islam News -The Islamic militant group Hamas has rejected the idea of postponing Palestinian elections ahead of a leadership meeting Thursday in which President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party is expected to push for a delay, citing a dispute with Israel over voting in east Jerusalem.
Hamas is expected to perform well in the May 22 parliamentary elections because of widening divisions within Fatah. Seizing on the sensitive issue of voting in east Jerusalem could offer a pretext for Abbas to call off the first Palestinians elections in 15 years.
Israel has not said whether it will allow voting in east Jerusalem but has expressed concern about Hamas’ growing strength. Israel and Western countries view Hamas as a terrorist group and would likely boycott any Palestinian government that includes it.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, Hamas said voting is a “fundamental national right.”
Hamas said voting must take place in east Jerusalem but rejected the idea that it required Israel’s permission. Instead, it called for the leadership to explore ways of “forcing the elections in Jerusalem without the permission of or coordination with the occupation.”
It also issued a veiled warning to Abbas without mentioning him by name, saying Hamas “will not be party to any postponement or cancellation and will not provide cover.”
The responsibility for any such decision “will rest with those who take it in response to the veto of the occupation,” it said.