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Israel arrests Hamas student leaders in Nablus

Move comes ahead of student union elections in the university

Gulf News

Ramallah: Israel military forces have arrested Hamas student leaders in Al Najah National University of Nablus, two days prior to the university’s student union elections which Hamas has boycotted since 2007.

On Sunday, Israeli forces raided the city of Nablus and surrounding towns and villages and arrested Hamas student leaders who are expected to win the elections. The forces arrested seven student leaders and are still in the pursuit of three others, who were not in their homes.

Hamas has boycotted the student union election since 2007 when it took over the Gaza Strip and was involved in a brief civil war with its rival Fatah.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Abdul Sattar Qasim, who heads the political science department at Al Najah National University, said the “absence of democracy” in the West Bank does not give a chance for fair and free elections. “The outcome of the elections does not and should not give Hamas any indication about its popularity in the West Bank,” he said.

“Despite the arrests of the student leaders, Hamas will participate in the elections as there has been an official decision from the movement to take part in these elections,” he said.

“The outcome of the election in the university will be yet another hindrance in the way of the Palestinian national reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas,” he said.