Written by: Akram Atallah

It is a logical question amid the irrational state that has dominated the Palestinian scene in the last decade and a half, as the people are engaging in a struggle for power while they are under occupation. This dispute has transformed the entire social, political and judicial structure of the Palestinian society, in which there are some who are optimistic that elections will be held this year, while others are pessimistic.

Although the road to elections is difficult, Palestinians have a lot of experience in confronting political and national obstacles and challenges. Until now, Cairo has not distributed invitations to the factions for the dialogue scheduled to take place in the middle of the month, but it may do so at any moment. Perhaps the delay is related to obtaining real guarantees of success or because the issues to be discussed are complex. Palestinians are starting to realize the extent of the complications and how they can overcome them.  

Regarding the issue of Jerusalem and the Palestinians’ participation in the elections, the issuance of the Palestinian Presidential Decree has put a spotlight on Israel before the world. If Israel refuses to allow Palestinians in Jerusalem to participate in elections, then it will appear as an obstacle to Palestinian democracy and the renewal of Palestinian institutions, which is the international demand of the Palestinian Authority.

Although Palestinians are encountering ongoing division, now, they are trying to restore and fix what they can.  The situation remains difficult due to what has accumulated during the past years. There are also some who concerned about the integrity of the elections, but this may be the easiest issues to handle, as the statistics are monitored and exposed to everyone. There are a number of other prominent and disputed issues, as the following:

  1. The judicial aspect related to the Supreme Constitutional Court, in which there are many protests against a set of laws that were recently taken.
  2. A pledge from Hamas that it will not compete for the presidency, that is, to guarantee the presidential position of the Fatah Movement; however, recently it appears that this is no longer guaranteed.
  3. The Fatah Movement’s lack of unity in the entry to elections, in which regional countries fear that the Fatah Movement may lose control over the Palestinian political system. But, how does this effect the presidential elections?

Although this will weaken the chances of the Fatah Movement, I do not think that the Fatah Movement, which has deliberately ignored the crises of the past years, can ignore this threat. If this is the case, could it provide enough flexibility during the Cairo dialogue in order to make it a success? Is it possible to reduce the gap between the Fatah Movement and Hamas? The dialogue in Cairo is the decisive factor. We are waiting for the mid-month dialogue in Cairo, and when the white smoke emerges from the chimney, then we will begin to move towards the holding of elections. But before this happens, the title of this article will remain the question of the moment that is based on the Palestinians’ reality.


The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Association or donor.