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Ramallah, West Bank — Entrenched in Gaza, Hamas has not allowed elections in six years and expelled an election committee meant to pave the way for new polls as part of a stalled unity plan in 2012.
Fatah held local polls in the West Bank which Hamas boycotted, leading to a disappointing turnout.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also Fatah’s leader, has outstayed his term by three years since he was elected in 2005.
While Palestinians are united in dismissing Israel’s elections, their internal political rifts remain deep.
Hamas rejects Israel’s right to exist and opposes U.S.-sponsored negotiations, advocating armed struggle instead. Abbas has put his faith in diplomacy, but neither strategy has brought Palestinians much closer to achieving their national aspirations.
Asked of their hopes for Israel’s polls, three grocers in a Ramallah store all mumbled: “What does it matter?”
“Labor, Likud, there’s no difference,” Mohammad Zaid said, mentioning the main leftwing and rightwing Israeli parties.
“Me, I care what happens on the street here in Palestine, and I don’t like what Hamas does. I vote yellow, I vote for the keffiyeh,” he said, pointing to his black-and-white chequered scarf, a symbol of Fatah along with its trademark colour.
“You’re being a bit partisan,” his bearded colleague said.
“You’re with Hamas,” his friends retorted, laughing.