April 24, 2015 | Quote

Hamas Wins Student Election at Major West Bank University, Signaling PA Political Weakness

The terrorist organization Hamas won the student elections in Birzeit University in the West Bank on Wednesday, defeating Fatah, the main constituent party of the Palestinian Authority which rules the West Bank. In an analysis published Thursday, Grant Rumley of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies explained that though Fatah won other student elections, some Palestinian will see the Birzeit results as a “broader referendum on Hamas’s popularity in the Fatah-controlled West Bank.”

“Student groups have historically served as a springboard to positions of leadership in the Palestinian national movement. Indeed, to rise among the ranks in a Palestinian political party typically requires years of service rallying support on campuses across the West Bank and Gaza. The fact that Fatah – which dominates the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank – just lost an election to its arch-rival at a campus mere miles from Ramallah could be significant.”

“The fact that student elections now serve as a major event in the Palestinian political arena underscores how fractured the political system remains. The framework for the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation of 2014 included the formation of a unity government and a proposal for a new round of presidential and parliamentary elections. Since last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, however, both Palestinian factions shifted their focus to reconstructing Gaza. But that reconstruction has stalled, with neither side willing to move past the blame game in order to prepare for elections. And now, with this week’s Hamas victory at one of the West Bank’s leading institutions, Fatah is not likely to rush to the polls.”

Hamas, according to Rumley, has already proclaimed the victory as a “message” to Fatah and “will undoubtedly be viewed as a sign of further weakness.”


Palestinian Politics