PA weighs licensing political parties

Bill could target Hamas; Hamas spokesman says group "doesn't need a license from anyone."

Hamas heads 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas heads 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Palestinian government in the West Bank on Monday discussed a bill that would require political parties to obtain licenses, two Cabinet ministers said. Such a law could target Hamas, which seized control of Gaza by force in June. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denounced the idea. "We don't need a license from anyone," he said. The proposed legislation was discussed Monday by the government appointed by Hamas's rival, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. In recent months, the West Bank government has increasingly moved against Hamas, arresting hundreds of activists, outlawing Hamas-linked charities and cutting off funds. Prisoner Affairs Minister Ashraf Ajrami said the law "wants to organize the existing factions and new ones ... to they would be able to obtain a license." Planning Minister Samir Abdullah said the bill is still being studied, and hasn't been approved by the Cabinet yet. "This law is going to affect all factions and movements," he said. "Palestinian factions are not registered and work randomly. This law is going to organize things." He said political parties would be required to reveal their sources of funding, and provide details on their activists. The ministers did not refer to Hamas by name. However, the group is receiving millions of dollars in support from abroad, including money from Iran and donations to Hamas-linked charities.