JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian high court canceled municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza scheduled for next month.
Disputes over party lists and the inability of Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem to cast ballots led to the cancellation this week.
The vote was seen as a referendum on the leadership of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is in his 11th year after being elected to a four-year term.
The election was to be the first time that Abbas’ Fatah party and the Hamas terrorist group faced off since 2007, when Hamas took over Gaza.
Each side blamed the other for the cancellation.
“We hold Hamas fully responsible for foiling the election, starting with the unjustified petitions it filed,” Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi said, according to Reuters.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: “The high court decision is politically motivated and it came in order to rescue Fatah after its lists of candidates collapsed in a number of areas.”
Local elections were held in a few West Bank Palestinian towns in 2012, but Hamas did not recognize the results.