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Hamas leaders in West Bank warn of Israeli intimidation forward of elections

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Jan 30, 2021

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Israeli intelligence summoned Jan. 24 Omar al-Barghouti, a 67-year-old chief within the Hamas motion, from the village of Kober, north of Ramallah, and warned him towards operating within the upcoming Palestinian elections.

Fifteen years since elections have been final held within the Palestinian territories, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree Jan. 15 setting the dates for basic elections, starting with the legislative elections on May 22.

Barghouti instructed Al-Monitor, “I received a call from the Israeli intelligence to show up to the Ofer prison, and when I came, the Israeli officer warned me not to run in the upcoming elections and threatened me with imprisonment if I did.”

He stated the officer instructed him, “You are old and sick, but you pose greater risk to us than those who carry weapons because you are not just a leader in Hamas. You are Hamas.”

Barghouti added, “I told the officer that the Israeli occupation will not prevent Palestinians from choosing their parliament representatives, nor will it be able to prevent anyone from running in the elections.”

The summons got here 18 days after his launch from Israeli prisons. Barghouti had spent 9 months in administrative detention with out being charged.

Barghouti has spent about 28 years in Israeli prisons altogether due to his affiliation with Hamas. He is without doubt one of the most distinguished figures of the motion within the West Bank, and he’s broadly in style amongst Palestinians. His son Saleh was shot lifeless by Israeli forces on Dec. 12, 2018, and his different son Assim was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment 4 instances over for finishing up a capturing assault in japanese Ramallah on Dec. 13, 2018.

Barghouti can be the brother of Nael Barghouti, the oldest Palestinian prisoner in Israel. His 40-year sentence can be accomplished subsequent yr.

Barghouti stated that Israel is warning Hamas figures to not compete within the voting “to bring the movement down and ensure that it will not succeed in the upcoming elections” in addition to entrench the political and geographical division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas motion received the final parliamentary elections held in 2006. It secured 76 parliamentary seats out of 132 of the Palestinian Legislative Council, whereas Fatah received 43.

In the aftermath Israel started arresting Hamas leaders, ministers and representatives within the West Bank, concentrating on 62 individuals together with six ministers and 20 PLC members.

Currently 10 members of the PLC are detained in Israeli prisons, together with distinguished Hamas chief Hassan Yousef, who received 37,000 votes, the best of any electoral candidate within the metropolis of Ramallah, the seat of main Palestinian Authority establishments.

Asked whether or not he meant to run regardless of the risk, he stated, “It is still premature to talk about whether or not I will run, but should I decide to do so, Israel won’t stop me.”

A distinguished Hamas chief from the West Bank instructed Al-Monitor on situation of anonymity that Hamas is looking for ensures from a number of international locations, significantly Qatar and Egypt, to make sure that Israel won’t pursue its representatives and candidates within the upcoming elections.

The supply identified that the Hamas management “will soon send letters to the European Union, in its capacity as the supervising and monitoring authority of the upcoming elections, to obtain such guarantees,” including, “With or without these guarantees, we will strongly participate in these elections because the Palestinians have the right to choose their representatives and candidates and show them to the world.”

Hassan Khreisheh, second deputy speaker of the PLC, instructed Al-Monitor, “Barghouti’s threat conveys a message to all Hamas leaders that they will be pursued and thrown in prison if they think about running in the elections.”

Khreisheh burdened that the Palestinian elections want Arab and worldwide ensures that Israel received’t sabotage them by arresting candidates. He expects Israel to arrest extra Hamas leaders and candidates within the West Bank within the coming days and weeks to restrict their participation within the elections.

Adel Samara, a political analyst and author for Kanaan Magazine printed in Ramallah, stated it is unlikely that worldwide stress might be sure that Israel wouldn’t intrude within the Palestinian electoral course of.

Samara instructed Al-Monitor, “For Israel, any Hamas victory in such elections poses a threat to its national security. Israel clearly does not haggle over its national security and would not abide by any [international] guarantees not to prosecute Hamas candidates.”

He stated that Israel can have an effect on the dimensions and recognition of Hamas within the upcoming elections by detaining the motion’s prime figures and stopping them from participating. He additionally stated that such measures might backfire and improve the motion’s recognition on the Palestinian avenue, main Palestinians to vote for it in defiance of Israeli persecution.

Talal Okal, political analyst and author on the Palestinian al-Ayyam newspaper, instructed Al-Monitor that Israel is just not the one state fearful about one other Hamas win. “The international community encourages Palestinian elections to be held, but is also be concerned over the possibility of Hamas winning or participating in any new government.”

Okal stated that the worldwide group desires such elections to supply a brand new Palestinian management that acknowledges and accepts Israel with the intention to move ahead with the peace course of and put an finish to the Palestinian-Israeli battle.

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