Jubilant Palestinian masses were yesterday celebrating the historic election victory of Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas.
The final results declared at 5pm yesterday saw Hamas take 76 and Fatah 43 of the 132 contested seats making up the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei and his cabinet resigned yesterday morning after admitting defeat in the first Palestinian parliamentary elections for ten years, saying that ‘Hamas should form the government.’
PNA security chief, Fatah West Bank leader Hussein al Sheikh, called on Fatah to respect the will of the people and refrain from lawless activities.
As well as taking nearly all districts in Gaza, Hamas shocked the world by winning in nearly all of the West Bank districts too.
Fatah suffered a whitewash in the West Bank town of Hebron, with Hamas winning all the nine contested seats, as well as most seats in West Bank towns once considered solid ‘Fatah territory’, such as Nablus, Salfit, Tubas and Tulkarem. Hamas won most of the contested seats in East Jerusalem.
Ismael Haniyah, Hamas leader in Gaza, said the movement would discuss a political partnership with Fatah.
‘This issue is going to be one of our priorities in the near future. Hamas is not going to work alone, but with the other groups who represent the Palestinian people,’ he said.
But senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub, speaking on behalf of the Fatah leadership, stated: ‘Hamas has to take up its responsibilities. Fatah will act as a responsible opposition.’
Haniya called on ‘the American administration to respect the will of the Palestinian people and the result of the ballot.’
Hamas official Mushir al-Masri warned that it would not hold peace talks with the Israeli occupier.
He stressed: ‘Negotiations with Israel is not on our agenda. Recognising Israel is not on the agenda either, now.’
The election result sent shock waves throughout Israel and the imperialist world.
US President Bush said Hamas ‘cannot be a partner in peace’ if it advocates the destruction of Israel and ‘if your party has an armed wing’.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: ‘The onus is now on Hamas to choose between democracy or violence, you cannot have both.’
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said: ‘The elections were meant to give power and strength to dismantle the (militant) organisations and not create a situation where those organisations sit in the parliament and then become part of the executive authority.’