The Student Council elections held Wednesday at the West Bank University of Birzeit indicated a drop in Fatah power: The movement won 24 seats, as opposed to 22 seats won by Hamas.
Though winning the elections, Fatah still lost one seat to Hamas since the previous elections. Palestinian sources said the results were indicative of Hamas’ success in the West Bank, despite the recent arrests of its senior members.
Results were as follows:
The Shabibeh Students Bloc (Fatah) 24
Islamic Wafa’ Students Bloc (Hamas) 22
Leftist Bloc (PFLP) 4
Palestinian People’s Party 1
Islamic Jihad – withdrew
Several other parties competed in the elections but failed to gain seats.
At Hebron Polytechnic University the Fatah-affiliated Shabibeh Students Bloc won the student council elections after winning 26 out of 31 seats.
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“I’ll be voting for Fatah because my family supports them, and they also have a good political programme for students,” said Ranim Omari, a second-year Psychology student. “Ultimately, both Fatah and Hamas are Palestinian movements and we should be supporting more unity.”
Two first-year female students aged 18 – one of them wearing the Kufiya, a symbol of Palestinian resistance that is increasingly becoming synonymous with Fatah and the PLO – expressed their confusion, although they said they will be voting Hamas.
“I don’t understand anything. I’m only wearing this because it’s fashionable, I like it, but I think I’ll vote for Hamas because they are leading the resistance,” she said.
Security sources said the intelligence community has concluded that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman would become a target of such groups as Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad. The sources said Lieberman’s statements, regarded by Arabs as provocative, as well as his residency in the West Bank would garner assassination attempts.
“The fact that he lives in the West Bank makes him a much easier target than say if he lived in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem,” a security source said.
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The Hamas-run Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip said the Fatah men were detained for questioning after holding an “illegal factional meeting”. Fatah officials later confirmed that the three men had been released.
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Jihad’s Khaled Al-Batsh told Ma’an on Saturday that the Fatah affiliates were held over their intentions to hold political activities at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City.
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According to a spokesperson for the Hamas-run government, de facto security forces had promised “to bring those responsible to account” for the attack on an Israeli patrol in the Al-Qarara area of Gaza earlier that day.
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Hamdi al-Ta’mari was arrested for the first time from the family home in Bethlehem at 4:00am, on 25 July 2008. He was woken by the sound of Israeli soldiers banging on the front door.
Hamdi’s hands and feet were immediately tied and he was ordered to lie on the floor, as soldiers pointed their assault rifles and flashlights at him. While on the ground, a number of soldiers slapped, kicked and beat him with their assault rifles. His hands were tied so tightly that they began to swell. After 15 minutes, Hamdi was blindfolded and placed on the floor of a military vehicle.
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The brigades said Israeli Special Forces penetrated the border wall east of Al-Qarara and tanks opened fire on citizens’ homes and a group of fighters who quickly withdrew from the area.