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West Bank Student Elections Reveal Hamas’ Influence

While university student council elections in the West Bank were purely “theoretical” elections, they revealed the influence of Islamist factions among youth, writes Dalal Bajes.
Palestinian students wearing Hamas hats pray at al-Najah University campus in the West Bank city of Nablus, on the day of the student council elections, April 23, 2013. While Palestianian politics may be in a moribund condition at the national level, the paralysis has not stifled youthful debate. The main university of Nablus was a riot of yellow and green flags, the colours of Fatah and Hamas, on the day of the elections. Picture taken April 23, 2013. To match ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/YOUTH  REUTERS/Abed Omar Q
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The springtime student council elections at universities in the West Bank have ended, or almost have. Observers and journalists followed the event and its results first hand, although these were purely "theoretical" union elections.

However, Hamas viewed the results of these elections as an indicator of its size in the Palestinian arena, at a time when there are no other indications or elections, such as union, labor, municipal, legislative or other elections. As a result, Hamas should not be excluded from any political calculations. In 1992, the movement demanded 40% of seats in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Fatah rejected the demand, assuming that Hamas was requesting more than it deserved. Only a year later, the results of university elections proved that this was the least that Hamas could demand.

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