The fate of local elections in the occupied Palestinian territories remains unclear as Palestinian officials in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continue to trade blame for the ongoing political impasse.
On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs the Israeli-occupied West Bank, announced that it would postpone the municipal elections for up to four months.
The move came after a high court in the West Bank ruled that the Gaza Strip would not be included in the elections, prompting an angry reaction from Hamas, the political movement that governs Gaza. The high court claimed that an illegitimate court in Gaza, under pressure from Hamas, had objected to several candidates from Fatah, the ruling party in the PA.
Hamas leaders denounced the high court's decisions saying that the PA's swift call to postpone the elections was politically motivated and accused the court of being biased.
"We consider the government's decision an attempt to evade the election, to serve Fatah's interests," the group spokesperson said at a press conference in Gaza on Tuesday. "Hamas calls on the Central Elections Commission to stick to the completion of the electoral process from where it left off," adding that the party rejects the court allegations against the legitimacy of its courts.
Hamas said Fatah was attempting to blow this "unexplained issue out of proportion to distract the Palestinian public and cover its political failure".