Palestinian parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 22, but postponement is at least an even bet.
If all the elections in the calendar are held—for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on May 22, for president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) on July 31, and for the PLO’s sort-of legislative body, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), on August 31—Hamas will almost certainly have gained a much larger role in Palestinian politics, and in exchange have given up literally nothing. Hamas, that is, will not have had abandon its rejection of the Oslo Accords, of the existence of the State of Israel, or of terrorism in order to participate in the elections or in the Palestinian Authority.
Opinion polls suggest that Hamas may win twenty to thirty-five percent of the vote and thus a significant place in the PLC. Moreover, every deputy elected to the PLC will also be a deputy in the PNC—and Hamas will at long last have achieved a long-term goal: to be part of, and have power within, the PLO.
For Fatah elites this may be too much to risk. For Israel and Jordan as well, it could be a terrible outcome. And for the United States, a formal role for Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, in the PLO could put paid to Biden administration plans to rebuild relations with the PA and PLO.
These subjects deserve a closer look, which I tried to give them in an article in Fathom that can be found here.