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Palestinians prepare to vote as Hamas hints at negotiations

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Palestinians prepare to vote as Hamas hints at negotiations


The campaigning is over, now the fate of Fatah and other Palestinian parties is in the hands of the voters. Parliamentary elections take place in the West Bank and Gaza tomorrow. The poll could change the political landscape in the territories.

Analysts expect a surge in support for the miliant group Hamas at the expense of Fatah. On the final day on the campaign, a Fatah leader, Mohammad Dahlan, urged people to honour the memory of Yasser Arafat, the party’s founding father. The polls indicate Fatah will come out on top but may have to share power with Hamas. Allegations of corruption within the Fatah leadership are among the main reasons that Hamas has gained ground on its rival. On the eve of the vote, the militant group appeared to be softening its hard line on talks with its sworn enemy Israel. A spokesman said: “If the Israelis have anything to offer for the Palestinians, to give them their national interests, we are going to discuss.” Not all militants are following the example of Hamas. Islamic Jihad has called for a boycott of the election but says it will not try to disrupt polling.
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