The Palestinian security mechanisms and activists in the Fatah movement, led by Abu Mazen, launched last week a secret, concentrated and tough campaign with the aim of preventing Hamas from winning in the student union elections held today (Thursday) at Hebron University.
"Ashbiba", the student cell of Fatah, won over "Alkutala al-Islamiya" - the cell that is affiliated with Hamas, with 25 seats compared to the latter's 16.
About 7,500 students had the right to vote, but the voting rate was only 53%.
A concentrated and tough secret campaign.
Abu Mazen, photo: AP
Sources in Hebron say that students studying at the university received threatening phone calls last week from members of the Palestinian security apparatus and members of the Fatah movement, in which they were required to vote in a Fatah booth on election day. Their family members also received similar messages and some even received surprise home visits during which they were pressured to convince their student sons To cast a ballot of Fatah.
The resident of Hebron testified that his fellow students were threatened that if they did not vote for Fatah, they would not find a job when they finished their academic studies. "Those who do not support Petah, will not get employment opportunities - in this way they scared the people and also told them that there were cameras that would monitor the vote.
Besides, there are other well-known sanctions that they can apply that prevent you from going abroad through the Allenby Pass," he said.
"If you don't vote for Fatah, you won't find a job." A sign for the city of Hebron, photo: Oren Ben Hakon
In addition, arrests were made in Hebron of students active in a cell affiliated with Hamas.
"The PA is not only afraid of the growing power of Hamas but also of the strengthening of left-wing parties such as the Popular Front, so they started spreading bad rumors about girls and women as a means of putting pressure on families who have students studying at the university. In addition, they threatened some members of the Nazar Banat family that they would be arrested if they incited Against voting for Fatah in the period before the elections."
Banat, as I recall, was a fierce political critic of the Palestinian Authority and died during a brutal arrest in his home by security forces.
While some students received threats, others were persuaded to vote for Fatah through promises of receiving funds and benefits.
"The authority made some of the calls from Israeli phone numbers. During the visits, they told the families: We will pay the children's university tuition in your place and we will arrange for them to get jobs," they said in Hebron.
The PA fears the strengthening of the terrorist organization.
Hamas operatives with the organization's flag, photo: AP
The Palestinian Authority's effort to interfere in the elections and tilt the results in its favor reflects the great concern in Ramallah about the strengthening of the Hamas organization in the West Bank, especially after the defeat suffered by the Fatah movement 9 months ago in the student union elections at Bir Zeit University when the Hamas list won a landslide victory.
This concern arises from a document that was leaked from a preliminary meeting convened by Fatah members and members of the mechanisms in the middle of last month, and which was distributed by Palestinian activists.
At the meeting, the preparations for the elections were determined and these are the main points: prepare lists and phone numbers of students and contact them and their families to ensure their vote for the development, provide free transportation services on election day and use the mechanisms' vehicles for this purpose, give gifts and money to convince the undecided students, focus the campaign in women since they are less politically aware, more emotionally affected (compared to men), and it is easier to manipulate their thinking.
Using the terrorist's father Madzingoff to create sympathy, the security forces in the attack,
In another section, the need to use figures such as "Abu Raed" (father of terrorist Dizengoff) and the "Lions Den" phenomenon in order to win the sympathy of the public came up in the election campaign.
Also, in order to increase the percentage of support, in their election campaign, Fatah's student cell distributed ads and posts on the networks with the picture of Yasser Arafat, and avoided hanging posters with the likeness of Abu Mazen.
This is due to the growing distrust in the Palestinian street of the functioning of the Palestinian Authority leadership.
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