Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

On this day: the Palestinian elections

January 25 2006: Hamas wins the popular vote

    The first Palestinian Legislative Council elections in a decade, the Palestinian elections of 2006 marked a turning point in Middle East politics as Hamas came out triumphant at the polls.

    Ruling party Fatah took just 43 of the 132 Palestinian Authority parliamentary seats, while a group viewed around the world as a terrorist organisation took 76.

    About 1.34 million people – residents of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem – were able to vote in the election. But Fatah, the party of President Mahmoud Abbas and Yasir Arafat before his death, had dominated Palestinian politics for years, enabling Hamas to run as the party of change.

    The result sent shockwaves around the international community – 50 suicide bombs had been carried out by Hamas members against Israel while the Hamas charter outlined the faction’s dedication to the destruction of Israel.

    The Israeli government ruled out dealing with a Palestinian administration that included Hamas.

    Then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: "Israel can't accept a situation in which Hamas, in its present form as a terror group calling for the destruction of Israel, will be part of the Palestinian Authority without disarming.

    "I won't hold negotiations with a government that does not stick to its most basic obligation of fighting terror.”

    The United States took the same stance, and the Quartet subsequently imposed economic sanctions on the Palestinian Authority, demanding that Hamas recognize Israel.

    The result also triggered further internal strife, as Hamas and Fatah battled for control. A coalition rule was formed, but in June 2007 Hamas seized power in the Gaza strip and the unity government subsequently collapsed. Elections scheduled for January 2010 were postponed.

    What the JC:Israel’s military establishment needs to examine the failure of its intelligence branches to foresee this dangerous development. The enormity of Hamas’s election victory is startling and the naivety of those who argue, even in this paper, that perhaps there could be a positive side to its ascent to power, is worrying. While it is true that Hamas has come to power through the ballot box, and in no small measure as a protest vote against the corrupt and inefficient Fatah regime, it should not be forgotten that Hamas is not a political party but a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist organisation sworn to destroy the state of Israel. Its charter is full of poisonous antisemitism; its members have been perfectly willing to blow themselves up, killing hundreds of Israeli civilians.

    See more from the JC archives here.

UK News

Chaos over UK's funding for PA

Daniel Sugarman

Chaos over UK's funding for PA
World

Palestinian divide shows as poll is delayed

Anshel Pfeffer

Palestinian divide shows as poll is delayed
Israel

Israeli plan to bypass Abbas in search for new ...

Anshel Pfeffer

Israeli plan to bypass Abbas in search for new ...
UK News

UK freezes aid to PA over terror funding

Daniel Sugarman

UK freezes aid to PA over terror funding
Israel

Abbas to attend Peres's funeral

JC Reporter

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Abbas to attend Peres's funeral
UK News

Celtic charged by Uefa after Palestinian flags ...

Daniel Sugarman

Celtic charged by Uefa after Palestinian flags ...
Israel

Mahmoud Abbas taken to hospital for heart tests

JC Reporter

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Mahmoud Abbas taken to hospital for heart tests
World

NGO blasts Palestinian attacks on free speech

Anshel Pfeffer

NGO blasts Palestinian attacks on free speech
World

We'll sue UK over Balfour Declaration, says Pal...

Lianne Kolirin

We'll sue UK over Balfour Declaration, says Pal...