Negotiations with Israel

Fatah wants to resume negotiations with Israel to achieve an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

Islamic resistance group Hamas has sent mixed messages about talking to Israel - sometimes rejecting it, other times not ruling it out.

Hamas advocates Israel's destruction, but at the same time says a long-term truce might be possible.

Two independent parties, Independent Palestine and the Third Way, favour negotiations with Israel.

Use of violence

Fatah rejects the use of violence, although armed men affiliated with Fatah have carried out repeated attacks on Israelis and have occasionally clashed with rival Palestinians.

Hamas favours "armed struggle" against Israel, saying it will respond with force to Israeli attacks, although like most armed factions, has largely honoured a ceasefire which expired at the end of 2005.

Islamic Jihad, which is boycotting the elections, continues to carry out bombings in Israel.

Jerusalem, refugees and borders

All parties demand East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state and say Palestinians who lost their homes during Israel's creation in 1948 should be allowed the right of return.

Israel strongly opposes both demands.

Fatah, Independent Palestine and the Third Way parties accept the 1993 Oslo peace accords, which recognised Israel and set up the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas rejects Oslo and is vague about its vision of a future state, but says sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza would be only a first stage towards an Arab state in all of historic Palestine.

Another group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in the past has spoken of a single state to be shared equally by Jews and Arabs.


All parties have pledged a frontal attack on corruption, including Fatah, widely seen as the main offender.

The growing popularity of Hamas is largely due to its image of incorruptibility and pledge to clean up government.