Shots were fired on Sunday night at the home of lawyer Hatem Shahin, one of Fatah’s candidates for the Palestinian Legislative Council elections and a member of Muhammad Dahlan’s ‘Future’ list. Unknown individuals fired several shots at Shahin’s home in Hebron.
Dahlan’s faction was quick to issue a statement of condemnation and placed the responsibility for the safety of all candidates on Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas and his security apparatus.
A senior Fatah source told TPS Monday that “although Abu Mazen [Abbas] published the Declaration of Rights and Freedoms, which is intended to ensure a fair election, he allows his people, whether security personnel or Tanzim activists, to threaten candidates and not hesitate to harm them.”
In this context, the senior Fatah official noted the threat made by Abbas at the Fatah revolutionary council meeting when he told those present that anyone who dared to run against his list should be shot.
Palestinian publicist Fares Yai’i condemned the shooting, saying it was a “cowardly act that threatens civilian peace and the democratic process.” Ya’i demanded that the security forces expose the criminals involved in the shooting and called on all candidates in Hebron to condemn the heinous act.
Meanwhile, the Central Election Commission approves all of the rival Fatah lists, out of a total of 36 lists submitted to it, and attention is drawn to Muhammad Dahlan’s’ “Future” list and Marwan Barghouti and Nasser al -Qidwa’s “Freedom” list.
Out of 231 objections filed to disqualify candidates, the Central Election Commission approved only one request for the disqualification of Eugene Kushakji, a young woman from Jerusalem, who appeared on the “Freedom” list.
Four objections were removed but Kushakji, who holds Israeli citizenship as a resident of eastern Jerusalem, was disqualified.
A Fatah source explained that Abbas’ men sought to disqualify dozens of members on the Dahlan and Qidwa on the pretext that they had harmed and insulted the Palestinian leadership, but their requests were rejected. Abbas’ Fatah members also sought to disqualify Hamas member Khaled Brahma, who is running on the “We will meet in Jerusalem” list, and who insulted Abbas when he participated in Shimon Peres’ funeral.
The PA believes that Abbas will be forced to postpone the election, taking advantage of Israel’s refusal to allow polling stations positioned in Jerusalem.
During the coming week, meetings are expected between the various factions and Fatah on the issue of placing polling stations in the east of the city. Dalal Salameh, a member of Abu Mazen’s Fatah list, says in this regard that discussions will be held with all factions and separately.
“We are facing a battle and we are going to hold the Palestinian elections and we will not give in to the occupation and its decisions against the Palestinian elections,” he said
Salameh emphasized that there was a national agreement to act against the failure of the elections in eastern Jerusalem and that there was an open battle with the occupation in this matter.
In recent days, statements by senior Fatah and Palestinian Authority officials regarding the polls in eastern Jerusalem have increased, and some of them have stated that elections would not be possible without the participation of eastern Jerusalem residents. Elements in the PA estimate that Abu Mazen is preparing the ground for a possible postponement of the election while blaming Israel.
It should be noted that Hamas members are demanding from Abu Mazen not to cancel or postpone the elections, even at the cost of not voting at the polls in Jerusalem. In doing so, Hamas is raising the already existing tension in Fatah surrounding defeat in the elections.
Tonight, the head of the Palestinian Association of Palestinian Religious Scholars, Atzam Shawar, a senior Hamas figure in Judea and Samaria, was arrested in Hebron. A Hamas source told TPS that “recently, the number of arrests made by Israel among Hamas operatives has increased, to prevent the movement’s success in the elections.” The source says that Israel is harming key elements who are supposed to promote Hamas’ campaign ahead of the elections that are expected to take place on May 22.