Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hamas Wins University Election

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Over the past few months there have been many surveys of Palestinian attitudes. Some of the results have been surprising, some have supported conventional wisdom.

Conventional wisdom says to follow student body elections at universities in the West Bank and Gaza. If nothing else, you get a sense of the educated eliteĆ¢€™s point of view and you may get a picture of the direction of future Palestinian leadership. This, however, is a problematic barometer as the election results have swung back and forth from year to year.

That said, Bir Zeit University just trounced Fatah and elected Hamas. Bir Zeit is by far the best name in Palestinian higher education. It is located in Ramallah and offers a full array of subjects. For students staying closing to home, it is the most respected of all Palestinian institutions of higher learning.

So the swing to Hamas - and away from the mainstream Fatah party that rules and controls the West Bank and the PA, is significant. It indicates that Abbas and his party have lost the faith of Palestinian youth.

How significant is it? I do not know, but that election is as telling as any other survey or any other student election.

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