Hamas: Israel trying to stop us from running in Palestinian election

Some Hamas representatives claimed that they were warned by Israeli authorities against presenting their candidacy.

Israel is trying to prevent Hamas from participating in the Palestinian parliamentary election, slated for May 22, Hamas officials said Tuesday.

The IDF has in the past few days arrested a number of senior Hamas figures in the West Bank as part of an effort to stop them from running for the parliament, they said.

Some Hamas representatives said they were warned by Israeli authorities against presenting their candidacy.

One of them, Aziz Dweik, a senior Hamas official from Hebron, said Israeli security officials “threatened” him not to present his candidacy in the upcoming election.

Dweik, who previously served as speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), said the “threat” was relayed to him by Israeli security officials who “raided” his home.

He was a member of the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform list that won the PLC election in 2006.

In 1992, Dweik was among more than 400 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members who were arrested and deported by the IDF to Southern Lebanon after a series of terrorist attacks against Israel.

The IDF arrested senior Hamas figures Sheikh Fazi’ Sawafta and Obada al-Kharraz on Tuesday, Palestinians reported. The two are residents of Tubas in the northern West Bank.

Sawafta previously served 18 years in Israeli prison for security-related offenses.

The IDF also “raided” the homes of senior Hamas officials Samir al-Qadi and Nayef Rajoub in the Hebron area on Tuesday morning, Hamas said. The two are elected Hamas members of the PLC.

The IDF also “raided” the home of Hamas activist Rizek Rajoub, also from the Hebron area, Hamas said.

According to Hamas, the three Hamas figures were warned against participating in the parliamentary vote.

Adnan Asfour, a senior Hamas official from Nablus who was arrested a few days ago by the IDF, has been placed under administrative detention, Palestinian sources said. He was arrested together with Yasser Mansour, another senior Hamas official in Nablus.

The IDF also arrested Mustafa al-Shinnar and Omar al-Hanbali, who are affiliated with Hamas, the sources said. The two are residents of Nablus.
Last week in Jenin, the IDF arrested Hamas representatives Khaled al-Hajj and Abdel Basit al-Hajj, the sources said.

“The arrests are designed to obstruct the upcoming elections,” senior Hamas official Abdel Rahman Shadeed said. “This requires the intervention of the international community.”

The arrests won’t deter Hamas from participating in the election, another Hamas official said. The official called on the Palestinian Authority to condemn the Israeli crackdown on Hamas members in the West Bank and raise the issue with the international community.

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