Saturday, March 12, 2005

Hamas and the Palestinian Elections

Both ran stories about the militant group, Hamas, deciding it would take part in the upcoming Palestinian elections. CNN paints a rosier picture than does Fox of the situation. CNN’s third sentence says, “[The decision] marks the group's renewed willingness to participate with the Palestinian Authority, which has had closer working relations with Israel since the death of longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.” Fox’s first sentence says, “The Hamas militant group announced Saturday it would participate in an upcoming Palestinian parliamentary election, a decision that could undermine Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' attempts to renew peacemaking with Israel.”

Note: I just went back to check something in Fox’s article and there is an updated version at the same url which says the following which is even more negative about the Hamas decision. The highlighted portion is new or changed:

Hamas, the major force behind a four-year suicide bombing campaign, decided Saturday to run in an upcoming parliamentary election, a move that could undermine Palestinian efforts to end violence, reform a corrupt government and renew peacemaking.

CNN also says, “Hamas' stance reflects efforts by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to promote peace and stability in the West Bank and Gaza and influence militant groups to promote a cease-fire.” Fox states this different perspective: “A similar victory [by Hamas] in the July parliamentary election could be a major setback for Abbas, who is trying to consolidate his Fatah movement's power following Yasser Arafat's November death.” So, is the decision of Hamas to join in with the elections good or not? CNN’s article would seem to say yes. Fox’s article paints more of a picture of political fighting.

The BBC’s take was similar to Fox’s saying the following:

Its involvement, announced by a Hamas leader in the West Bank, could prove a major challenge for the Fatah party of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas beat Fatah - the traditional party of power founded and led by the late Yasser Arafat - convincingly in municipal elections earlier this year.

Aljazeera had a little of both perspectives. Here are three quotes:

The decision may indicate a transformation in Hamas' political thinking and means the elections will see tough competition between Hamas, a branch of the worldwide pan-Islamic movement the Muslim Brotherhood, and Fatah, …

Palestinian political analyst Hani al-Masri has described the decision to contest the July election as "a very positive and qualitative step toward putting an end to political and administrative chaos in the Palestinian society".

Some Fatah leaders have welcomed Hamas' decision to take part in the elections.

Links to today’s articles:,2933,150220,00.html

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