Photo: AP
Tough talk from Sharon
Photo: AP

Sharon wants Hamas out of PA elections

Prime minister says Israel would not assist Palestinian Authority in facilitating general elections, slated for January should Hamas be allowed to field candidates, New York Times reports

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Friday Israel would not assist the Palestinian Authority in facilitating upcoming general elections, slated for January, should the PA allow Hamas candidates to run for office, the New York Times reported.


"We will make every effort not to help them," Sharon said at a meeting with journalists in New York, where he traveled earlier this week to attend the United Nations General Assembly session.


"I don't think they can have elections without our help,” the prime minister said.


Sharon noted the failure to remove IDF roadblocks and checkpoints would prevent Palestinians from hitting the polls and make it difficult for Jerusalem residents to cast their ballots.


An Israeli official who traveled with Sharon to New York said aides feared Hamas would "get 40 percent of the vote, and that will set us back 10 years." Notably, Hamas has made a strong showing in earlier municipal elections in Palestinian areas.


'I urge Israelis to keep noses out of our elections'


Sharon reportedly told President George W. Bush of his intentions earlier this week. In response to the prime minister’s comments, the White House said it opposed any attempt to interfere in the elections, while showing understanding to Sharon’s concerns.


"The decision as to who participates in Palestinian legislative elections is obviously up to the Palestinian Authority," said Frederick Jones, a spokesman for the National Security Council, but added "Hamas is a terrorist group," and noted the United States "will not talk to any elected officials who are members of a terrorist group."


Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, slammed Sharon remarks: "If the Israelis start interfering now with our elections, this will sabotage the democratic process in Palestine.”


“I really urge the Israelis to keep their noses out of our elections,” Erekat said. “We've been conducting local elections, including Hamas, and this is our choice, and I hope Israel will respect our democracy."


פרסום ראשון: 09.17.05, 09:11
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