debkafile reveals: Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah determine to avert an electoral defeat by any means – even strong-arm tactics
Our Exclusive Palestinian sources report: Fear of defeat at the polls in Wednesday’s general election brought feuding Fatah leaders Mahmoud Abbas, Mohammed Dahlan and Jibril Rajub together and led them to a consensual decision: not to accept defeat. In places where the vote goes against Fatah, balloting will be forcibly halted. To avoid disrupting the entire electoral process for 1.3 million eligible Palestinian voters, Fatah will interfere in only a select number of the 1,008 voting stations in the West Bank and Gaza.
The two-three hours from 14:00 to 17:00 are thought to be the critical. By then the local Fatah activists should have a good idea which way the wind is blowing. If rival parties including Hamas are seen to be pulling ahead, those activists will find ways to stop the voting, whether by starting a fight, setting the booth on fire or spraying the surrounding streets with gunfire. No one can tell whether Hamas, which has heard about the Fatah decision, will fight back or tell its people to back away from clashing with Fatah.