Middle East Monitor / May 21, 2022
The devastating defeat of the Fatah-backed bloc at the Birzeit University student council elections this week caused outrage among Fatah members and supporters.
A Hamas-linked activist group won a landslide victory in the elections at the West Bank university. It is believed that this could signal a possible shift in Palestinian public opinion.
Consequently, Fatah has confirmed that it will form a committee to analyze the cause of the loss, which is Fatah’s biggest since its defeat by Hamas in the 2005 legislative elections.
Head of the National Democratic Forum Nasser al-Qudwa sent the following message on Friday to Fatah members at Birzeit University:
“I salute you and your struggles at your esteemed university and the national framework in general. I am writing to you today in an attempt for us to put the results of the last student council in their proper context. First, I am confident that the votes that the bloc obtained were not in absolute support of Hamas but rather as a punishment for the group that controls the Palestinian political system because of the destruction it caused to the Palestinian situation as a whole. So, it is not your fault because these are not your policies, decisions and actions that our people rejected and for which the controlling group was punished. At the same time, we must admit that the controlling group and its tools have also ruined student life, including at your university, and introduced reprehensible traditions far from proper union work and the revolutionary spirit of the student movement, especially the Fatah movement.
The biggest problem is that the controlling group does not care about what happened and is against democracy and elections in the first place. Therefore, we should not expect measures and reforms. Unfortunately, we should expect an intensification of the same policies and positions.
We in Fatah, the students, Shabiba and all others, must fight to restore our great movement from its kidnappers and to restore its pioneering role in the struggle, as the leader of the Palestinian national movement. When it succeeds in this, it will reflect on all aspects, including, of course, the student movement and the election results. You will return to leading the student body at Birzeit University as it always should be.”