The Palestinian militant group Hamas has said it will run in parliamentary elections next month despite growing international concern. A sweeping victory in municipal elections a few days ago suggests it is likely to do well in the poll. The US wants it banned from the ballot. The EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana outlined some of the problems ahead:
“It’s very difficult that parties that do not condemn violence, parties that still have in their constitution the disappearance of the state of Israel, without changing those positions to be partners in the future,” he said. Solana added that Hamas’s participation could endanger EU aid to the Palestinian Authority. Israel warns the peace process will end if Hamas becomes the dominant political party.
As pressure mounts to exclude the group, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is in an increasingly awkward position. Hamas’ local electoral victory underlines its strength and the backlash a ban could entail.