Israel will not prevent the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) elections from taking place, but Hamas’ growing strength in the elections and its impact on security stability is worrying, a top Israeli official told European diplomats.
The head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s political-strategic array Alon Bar met on Tuesday with European ambassadors to discuss the pending elections in the PA, slated for the end of May.
Bar stressed to the ambassadors that the PA elections are “a Palestinian internal issue,” and that Israel does not intend to intervene in them or prevent them.
He also noted the “problematic nature” of the Hamas terrorist organization’s participation in the PA elections.
Bar pointed to Hamas’ involvement in encouraging the riots in Jerusalem in recent days and the firing of rockets at Israeli civilians from the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas, and warned of the possibility of Hamas’ growing strength in Judea and Samaria and its implications for security stability in the region, for the promotion of civilian projects in the PA, as well as for attempts to promote contacts between Israel and the PA.
Hamas is projected to win the elections in Judea and Samaria.
At the end of the meeting, Bar emphasized that Israel is acting carefully and responsibly to prevent the deterioration of the situation and expects the European countries to act in the same fashion.
The latest reports indicate that fearing a defeat, PA head Mahmoud Abbas will postpone the elections to an unspecified date, possibly leading to a violent outbreak in the PA and Gaza.
The Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Tuesday that Abbas has notified the European Union, Egypt and Jordan of his decision to postpone the elections.
The EU has asked for a delay in his formal announcement on the matter so that it can pressure Israel to allow voting in eastern Jerusalem, allegedly the reason he is canceling the elections.
Abbas has repeatedly stated that he will not permit the elections to take place without polling booths being placed in eastern Jerusalem.