Israel threatened to imprison Hamas leaders if they run in elections

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Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal attends a rally marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, in Gaza City December 8, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

WEST BANK, PALESTINOW.COM‘Israel’ has threatened leaders of the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, that they would be imprisoned if they run in the upcoming elections.

Hatem Naji Amr from Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank told the Turkish news agency that he was summoned by Israeli intelligence Tuesday and was warned not to run.

“They threatened us with imprisonment if we ran in the elections whether on a party ticket, tribal or as independent [candidates],” said Amr.

Omar Barghouthi, a former detainee from Ramallah said he had a similar experience when Israeli intelligence warned him that “running for elections means returning to prison.”

“Israeli intelligence dealt with us as the de facto decision-maker and the real authority in the occupied territories,” he added.

Israeli analyst in Channel 12 Ehud Yaari has called on the Israeli occupation goverment to ban Hamas from participating in the elections, preventing it from entering the institutions of the Palestinian Authority and rebuilding its power in the West Bank.

The elections will be held under decree issued by President Mahmoud Abbas in three stages: the legislative on May 22, the presidential elections on July 31, and the elections for the National Council on August 31.

The last Palestinian elections for the Legislative Council were held in 2006, and Hamas won the majority, while presidential elections were held in 2005, and President Abbas won.

Palestinian officials announced that Cairo will host Palestinian factions early next month to discuss ways of ensuring a successful electoral process.

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