After Israeli security forces arrested a top Hamas elections official on Tuesday night, the Gazan terror group accused Israel of attempting to interfere with upcoming Palestinian municipal elections in the West Bank.
The senior official, Hussein Abu Kweik, is Hamas’s main campaigner in the West Bank, charged with appealing to Palestinian voters outside of the Gaza Strip in Judea and Samaria.
He was appointed last week as Hamas’s only representative on the central elections commission of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the body overseeing the October 8 elections.
In a joint IDF-Shin Bet operation, Abu Kweit was arrested overnight on Tuesday in Ramallah, the PA’s de-facto capital, on charges of “involvement in security-related activities that presented a threat to security in the area” and incitement, according to a Shin Bet official.
Hamas immediately condemned the arrest, with spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri accusing Israel of attempting to interfere in the elections.
Hamas has already laid the same charges against the PA, claiming that the Fatah party, led by PA president Mahmoud Abbas, routinely arrests top Hamas activists and officials in the West Bank in order to sabotage the elections.
Conversely, Fatah has made the same complaint against Hamas, accusing the terror organization’s security forces of arresting and jailing Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has threatened to boycott the elections if Fatah keeps arresting its members.
The outcome of the elections will determine whether Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, will gain more authority over Palestinians living in the West Bank, which is now governed by the PA.
Recently, Hamas released a propaganda video intended to showcase the beach paradise that is the Gaza Strip in hopes of appealing to Palestinian voters.