Erekat defends Hamas's right to run in elections

In interview with Army Radio chief PLO negotiator says of West Bank elections, "we use ballots not bullets."

Chief PLO negotiator Erekat 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
Chief PLO negotiator Erekat 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
“Hamas and Fatah have differences in opinion,” Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday morning, but stressed that “everyone has a right to run.”
“We are a democracy” he told Army Radio, emphasizing that “whoever wins, wins.” This does not mean that Hamas would be “taking over” the West Bank, he stated, adding,”We don’t use bullets, we use ballots.”
When probed over whether Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is expected to run in the Palestinian presidential elections, Erekat said he has not announced a decision.
Turning to comments made by Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority share the same objectives, Erekat said that he was “sorry for this broken record in Israel.”
“They forget that even [the late PLO leader Yasser] Arafat recognized Israel within the 1967 lines,” he said, claiming that after he did so he was killed. Erekat expressed hope that Russian, French and Swiss investigators “will find out who killed Arafat.”
He also challenged Ya’alon and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to have the courage to stand up and say they accept the lines of 1967. “You don’t have a single Israeli minister in this cabinet” that will do so, he told Army Radio.
Erekat also slammed as “shameful,” events overnight in which Israeli security forces evacuated some 250 Palestinians activists from an outpost they erected in the E1 area near Jerusalem. He refuted accusations that the Palestinians were trying to build a settlement, saying instead that they were trying to “protect the land of their state.”
“This situation is absolutely intolerable and I hold the Israeli government responsible,” he said.