The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have set a new date for local and parliamentary elections, which were postponed by the PA in light of the Gaza withdrawal. The new dates for local elections are set for September 29th and December 8th. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in late December and early January. The decision follows weeks of tensions and violence between the PA and Hamas. The elections were originally slated for July 17th and the postponement had angered Hamas, which was expected to fair well in the elections. Many in the organization believe the PA postponed the elections out of fear that Fatah, which currently dominates the PA but is seen by many as being corrupt and ineffective, will lose in the elections. This agreement is the first step towards a rapprochement between Hamas and the PA. In recent days, Hamas has reduced the number of Kassam rockets attacks on Israeli settlements. In contrast, Israel continues its effort to arrest and kill members of Palestinian groups in the West Bank and Gaza. On Tuesday morning the Israeli army arrested five Palestinians in the Jenin area and one near Hebron. The charges against them remain unknown. There are no reports of their affiliation with any resistance group. During this time, Israeli forces invaded the West Bank city of Bethlehem, entered a house, and arrested two men. Closures in the West Bank city of Tul Karm remained in place, with many checkpoints stationed around the city. On Monday evening, Israel shelled the city of Rafah in Gaza, damaging electricity lines but causing no casualties.
Posted By AIC 2005 Fellow
Posted Jul 26th, 2005