The internal Palestinian strife continues to deepen, and Hamas is taking a firm stand against President Mahmoud Abbas' call for general elections in January. The Interior Ministry in Gaza on Wednesday warned the residents of the Strip to abstain for taking any part in the upcoming elections.
The Hamas-controlled ministry issued a special statement saying it would not allow for elections to be held in the Strip in January, and that the security forces will investigate anyone cooperating or taking any part in the planned vote.
The statement said, "The ministry objects to holding elections in the Strip, since he who called elections had no right to do so, and since the decision was made without national consent."
The ministry further stated that "anyone cooperating with the call for elections is endangering themselves and will be summoned for investigation."
Gaza sources told Ynet that Hamas had already warned the representatives of the various organizations against any involvement in the democratic process.
A Gazan leader said that a Palestinian who was heard speaking in favor of elections in central Gaza City a few days ago was beaten by Hamas police officers. "They beat him up only because of what he said," the source said.
Hamas on Wednesday again rejected holding or taking any part in the upcoming elections, which were called by the Palestinian president last week to take part in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
At the start of the week Abbas spoke at a special Fatah Central Committee meeting in Ramallah and said that despite the decree, the PA was still reaching out for reconciliation with Hamas.
He said that this was not a tactical matter, and hinted that the presidential decree for elections was not meant to pressure Hamas.