Internal Palestinian politics are mired in mistrust, hatred and fighting (or colluding) with Israeli occupation. This “milestone” has been barely recognised:
Four years after Hamas won an upset victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, prompting swift international sanctions and a Western-led diplomatic boycott, the mandate for the parliament it dominated officially expired on Monday.
According to the Palestinian Constitution, new parliamentary elections should have been held Sunday, Jan. 24, in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
But continued political division between the West Bank, governed by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, has delayed the elections indefinitely.
Omar Shaban, director of the Gaza-based Palestinian think tank Pal-Think, which works on Palestinian reconciliation efforts, says Hamas’s time in power has turned the organization into a more pragmatic movement ready to talk to the West. But he is afraid that because today’s deadline passed without any elections, Palestinians are further than ever from creating a democratic state.
“The dream that we had, to build a state and a viable political system, it is no longer feasible now that today has passed,” says Mr. Shaban. “How can we do this now when we can’t even have simple elections?”