By David Daoud
Gaza-based terror group Hamas lashed out at the Palestinian Authority on Thursday, saying that the PA opposes the operation of the “democratic process” because it knows Hamas would end up winning much broader public support, Israel’s NRG news website reported.
Hamas also attacked the PA for arresting West Bank activists affiliated with the Islamist group, saying the detentions were carried out because the PA fears Hamas’ popularity.
In recent elections at Bir Zeit University and the Polytechnic University in Hebron, which is ruled by the PA, Hamas-affiliated student groups achieved significant victories over their Fatah and PLO-affiliated rivals. After the results emerged, Hamas’ spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, condemned the arrests of activists saying “Hamas is stronger than all the plots to eradicate it.” Hamas also called for similar elections at every Palestinian university.
In its election victory at Bir Zeit, the Hamas-affiliated Islamist Bloc won 26 seats, against 19 for the bloc associated with Fatah.
Hamas claimed that the recent PA clamp down on its operatives was an act of revenge by the PA over Hamas’ election victories, achieved despite strict supervision of the elections by the PA’s security apparatus.
Hussam Badran, a spokesman for the Islamist organization said that “Hamas’ victory at Bir Zeit occurred despite the security and political arrests of the students,” which he alleged were carried out by Israeli security forces “in collaboration with the security services of the Palestinian Authority.” Badran noted that the “victory proved that Hamas is connected to the Palestinian people and resistance is the path that they choose.”
Badran noted “the dramatic decline” in the Fatah-affiliated bloc’s popularity in the universities. He said the trend constituted “a popular social message to the leadership of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority” that the people rejected the PA’s politics.