CAMERA Primer on Palestinian Elections and Hamas

The Palestinian Authority is allowing the terrorist group Hamas to run in Legislative Council elections scheduled for Jan. 25th, despite the fact that under the Oslo Agreements the PA is obligated to disqualify from elections any racist or violent parties. Israel has protested Hamas’s participation, and has refused to allow Hamas to campaign in areas Israel controls, such as east Jerusalem. Unfortunately Israel’s decision to bar Hamas is often falsely portrayed by the media as unilateral and obstructionist, when, in fact, disqualifying groups like Hamas from elections is a solemn Palestinian obligation under the peace accords.

The key provision in the Israeli/Palestinian peace agreements that pertains to Palestinian elections is Annex 2 of the Interim Agreement, which sets out very clearly what sorts of groups and parties are allowed to enter into the electoral process:

Article III – Qualification and Nomination of Candidates

2. Nominations

The nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions will be refused, and such nomination or registration once made will be canceled, if such candidates, parties or coalitions:

(1) commit or advocate racism; or

(2) pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or nondemocratic means.

That Hamas commits and advocates racism is clear from its many terrorist attacks targeting Jews as Jews, and also from its charter, which incorporates numerous anti-Semitic canards, including:

With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.

You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it. (Hamas Charter, Article 22)

While its racist charter alone is enough to bar Hamas from the elections, it is also excluded by the second clause regarding use of unlawful means – namely Hamas’s many suicide bombings and other deadly attacks against Israeli civilians.

Finally, it is important to note that barring racist parties from taking part in elections is quite common – Israel has disqualified Kach (a pro-Kahane group) and some Arab political groups from running, and many European democracies routinely enforce laws banning extremist parties.

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