The much vaunted reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah has become yet another missed opportunity and non-event following revelations by the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) chief electoral officer - Hisham Kuhail - that the May 4 date set for presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza will not eventuate.
There has been no parliamentary poll in Gaza since 2006 - and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has continued in the role of President illegally after the expiration of his term in 2009.
In an interview with The National - Mr Kuhail said the commission cannot stage the elections primarily because Hamas will not allow it to make the necessary preparations in Gaza - such as updating the voting registry and installing voting centres. The West Bank voter register was updated last August.
Mr Kuhail reportedly said his team was denied permission to do this in Gaza during a meeting there last month with aides to Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza - Ismail Haniyeh
Mr Kuhail said the problem could only be resolved by real reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.
Under Palestinian law - Palestinian Authority President - Mahmoud Abbas - must issue a decree instructing the CEC to begin preparing for the elections. This process takes 90 days.
But to this moment, that has not happened, The earliest feasible date to organise an election would be after June
A Hamas-Fatah agreement signed in Cairo last year was supposed to have led to an interim government that would govern both Gaza and the West Bank until elections took place. This has yet to materialise.
Islamic Jihad's Secretary-General - Ramadan Abdullah Shallah - has lamented on the continuing differences of opinion between Hamas and Fatah that have prevented the implementation of any deal:
Each side has its defense and pretexts, but the loser is our people because its interests are being ignored ...
Regrettably those interests have been ignored for the last 75 years since the Peel Committee first recommended the partition of Palestine into an Arab State and a Jewish State.
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