Hamas: IDF crackdown won’t stop us from running in elections

“Hamas is using the arrests to gain more sympathy among the Palestinians.”

HAMAS MEMBERS in Gaza. (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas will not withdraw from the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary election despite the arrest by the IDF of some of its members and candidates in the West Bank, officials of the terror group said on Tuesday.
A Palestinian political analyst told The Jerusalem Post that the Israeli security crackdown would, ironically, benefit Hamas.
“Hamas is using the arrests to gain more sympathy among the Palestinians,” said the analyst, who asked not to be identified. “When Israel targets Hamas, Palestinians will vote for Hamas. Hamas will portray itself as a victim of Israeli persecution.”
Ala’ Hmeidan, spokesperson for the Hamas electoral list for the parliamentary election, told the Ramallah-based Wattan TV that the recent arrests would only increase Hamas’s determination to contest the vote scheduled for May 22.
The arrests aim to obstruct the election and impact the results, he charged.
“Israel is worried about the election because it could end the dispute between Fatah and Hamas,” the Hamas official argued. “Israel is trying to hinder the Palestinian democratic process.”
Hmeidan, who was speaking to reporters in Ramallah, said that the arrests were designed to “intimidate” Hamas candidates and prevent them from participating in the election. He claimed that the arrests were also part of any Israeli scheme to maintain the split between the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and those parts of the West Bank ruled by the Palestinian Authority.
He urged the European Union and other countries to exert pressure on Israel to force it to stop “meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians,” and to release the Hamas detainees.
Hmeidan pointed out that the IDF arrested Najeh Assi, a candidate on the Hamas electoral list, which is called “Jerusalem is Our Destiny.” Assi was arrested on Monday night at his home in El-Bireh, the twin city of Ramallah.
Two weeks ago the IDF arrested another Hamas candidate, Hassan al-Wardiyan, a resident of Bethlehem.
According to Hmeidan, Israeli security forces have recently summoned several Hamas candidates and members in the West Bank for questioning.
On Monday night, IDF soldiers questioned the family of Sheikh Shaker Amarah, another Hamas candidate from Jericho. Amarah was arrested by the IDF eight months ago.