With the general PA elections a month away, Hamas victories in major PA-controlled cities foreshadow the election of the terrorist group as the representatives of the Arabs of the PA.
Hamas is responsible for many of the world's most gruesome attacks on civilians.
Hamas has won an estimated 75% of the votes in the municipal elections in Shechem (Nablus), 72% of the votes in El-Bireh (Ramallah's twin city) and took the leadership of the terror-capital of Jenin as well. In Ramallah, long the seat of power of Yassir Arafat and the ruling Fatah group, the PFLP terror group took the elections.
In a previous round of voting, Hamas and the PFLP won elections in Bethlehem and Beit Jala, both just south of Jerusalem. Fatah only chalked up a victory in the Bethlehem suburb of Beit Sahur.
Local elections in Gaza and Hevron were delayed by the PA election committee. PA sources say the delay was due to concern of a wider-scale victory for Hamas, which appreciates massive support in both locales.
Crowds of Hamas supporters in Shechem celebrated in the streets Thursday night. The Hamas leadership, meanwhile, is promising future victories. "The big party will be when we win the parliamentary elections" Hamas spokesman Yasser Mansour said.
Hamas is listed as a terror organization in the United States and Europe. Fundraising for and affiliation with the group is a crime. It is unclear whether the world's nations, including Israel, will continue to assist the Palestinian Authority if a party advocating the destruction of Israel sits at its helm. In a recent election video, Hamas declared that it will not give up its armed struggle until Israel is destroyed.
In the aftermath of previous gains by Hamas and other terror groups, some commentators have suggested that support for Hamas indicates a rejection of Fatah corruption and not support for the group's terror attacks and public adulation of suicide-bombers. In the recent local elections, however ten other parties, many of them unaffiliated with terror groups, submitted candidates, yet Hamas won popular support.
Counter-Terror Operations in Gaza and N. Samaria Widen 10:03 Dec 16, '05 / 15 Kislev 5766 By Ezra HaLevi
With the firing of eight Kassam rockets from Gaza and an attempted bombing of the Gush Etzion Tunnel Road Thursday, the IDF has returned to Gaza and northern Samaria.
Nearly every night this past week, the IDF has carried out a counter-terror operation in Gaza. Following Thursday night's attacks, Israel's Air Force and artillery targeted thirteen roads in the area of Beit Hanoun and Jabalya, in northern Gaza. The IDF said that the routes are regularly used by terrorists to reach the areas from which they launch Kassam rockets at Israeli towns.
In northern Samaria, the region from which two Jewish towns were forcibly removed and destroyed during the Disengagement Plan, the IDF continues to thwart terror attacks on a daily basis.
During the past week, the following attacks were thwarted by the IDF presence in and around Shechem (Nablus) and Jenin:
* An explosives laboratory was uncovered by the IDF and General Security Service in the Massaken Sha'abiya neighborhood in Shechem. In the laboratory, forces found: an explosive belt ready for use, a projectile rocket, 160 pounds of explosives, an electronic system used for cellular activation of a network of explosive devices, a small explosive device and a large quantity of raw materials used for the manufacturing of explosives. The explosives laboratory was detonated in a controlled manner by IDF sappers.
* A number of explosive devices, weighing hundreds of pounds, were uncovered in a well in the village of Kabatya, southeast of Jenin. The explosives were detonated in a controlled manner by sappers. Four wanted Islamic Jihad terrorists were arrested in the operation, during which the Arabs opened fire several times at the force and activated two explosive devices. In addition, a Border Police officer was injured lightly when Arabs hurled firebombs and rocks at additional forces in the area.
* Two metal cans filled with explosives were found in the possession of a 15-year-old Arab boy who arrived at the Hawara Crossing, south of Shechem. A 6-inch knife was found on an Arab man at the crossing and three other men were found with four firebombs and a number of rifle bullets.
* Two pipe bombs were found and confiscated at a temporary roadblock west of Jenin and a belt full of ammunition confiscated at such a roadblock south of the city.
* A 16-year-old Palestinian tried to stab Border Police at the Salem Crossing after a metal detector determined he had a large knife on his person. An Arab woman was found with a large knife on her person at the Beit Eba checkpoint near Shechem. The woman admitted that she intended to stab soldiers at the checkpoint.
* Soldiers were alerted of contact with the separation fence near the Jenin suburb of Kafin and were targeted with an explosive device when they arrived at the scene