Key Palestinian figures speak out

Below are statements by prominent Palestinian political figures in response to the results of the second Palestinian legislative council election results, in which the Islamic resistance movement Hamas has ousted long-standing Fatah from power.

    Hamas' win has shocked both supporters and critics

    Hanan Ashrawi, lawmaker, Third Path list


    Hamas' victory reflects the consequences of mismanagement of the [Palestinian] Authority, corruption, Fatah's hogging of power, and indifference towards people's needs and rights.

    However, the absence of progress in the peace process and Israeli escalation of violence and unilateralism have also resulted in today's event.

    Voices of moderation were undermined. The international community needed to intervene effectively to give people hope that there can be serious change in terms of the realities of occupation.



    Qais Abd al-Karim, Badil List


    These elections were democratic and enlightened, more than any other elections that have taken in the Middle East. They took place despite all of the obstacles we faced, including the occupation.


    Palestine should become a model for the entire region. There are many questions to ask each other before the final step. We are facing a change in the roots of the Palestinian political system.

    Hamas majority will enable them to pass any law, which raises the question, on what basis will they function, what laws will they pass?



    Mahmud al-Zahar, Hamas' Change and Reform List


    Hamas is not shocked by this overwhelming victory. We did not fall upon Gaza from the moon. We are living within the society and know what the street wants and what their conscience is.

    As for a future government, we are putting all the possibilities on the table. What has the Israeli government presented to us?  Nothing. Oslo is not only dead, it has rotted.



    Ahmed Saadat, Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (jailed political leader)


    We said in the beginning that our people must choose half the house so that we can put the rest of the Palestinian house in order and that includes the PLO.


    Ashrawi says Hamas' victory is a
    result of PA mismanagement

    This has to be done before choosing the new government. Our position is that our participation is tied to the new ruling party's political programme.  

    We will study whatever offer is put forth to us. This is just the first step of the process. It is in our best interest to have a national unity government that includes all the factions so we can continue fighting the occupation.



    Mustafa al-Barghouthi, Independent Palestine List


    The Palestinian people were able to create a true model for democracy despite the occupation. Today there was a democratic revolution that took us from the one-party rule to a multi-party democracy. 


    People voted for change. We hope there will be true change, not a change from a one-party rule to another one-party rule. These are big changes.

    We as Independent Palestine are important players in these changes, and we will enter the PLC. There is a new force that entered the political scene, and we have to respect this, but we need to see that the system of factional quotas is behind us.

    We are talking about a complete upheaval in the political system. There are several challenges. How do we deal with them while preserving our national aspirations? This is the first stop. My opinion is that the vote for Hamas was a protest vote. We have now to focus our results on national unity.



    Hussein al-Sheikh, Fatah Secretary-General in the West Bank

    We respect democracy and the polling box. We also respect the political pluralism and the transition of authority by peaceful means.


    Haniyeh says Hamas ran in the
    race on the basis of pluralism

    After technical preparations are completed for the transition of power, Abbas will ask the bigger bloc in the Parliament to form the government. However, the general view of Fatah is that we will not share this government.  

    Fateh will act as a national and Palestinian opposition party which will teach all how to deal with democracy. Hamas had been saying "no negotiations with Israel" in their electoral campaign, but this will become impractical vis-a-vis the reality or on the ground.



    Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader, Change and Reform List


    Hamas ran in the race on the basis of political multiplicity. We don't deal with the political issues based on one party coming into power and another leaving. We want to come and work with each other because the challenges in front of Palestinians are so big and the war with the occupation still going on.

    Hamas will accord the issue of the government great importance in the coming days, and have intense discussions with Fatah and Abu Mazen as well as with other factions on how to shape the coming political partnership.We say to the US administration, which said that it will not deal with Hamas, to respect democracy which it calls for.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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