Hamas Dominates Bethlehem City Council

(AP/Los Angeles Times) Karin Laub - Hamas's gains in the May 4 local elections had special resonance in Bethlehem, where Muslims now make up 65% of the population. A quota system assures Christians 8 seats on the 15-member city council, including the posts of mayor and deputy mayor. The council consists of 5 members from Hamas, 4 from Fatah, 3 from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), 2 independents, and 1 from Islamic Jihad. Mayor Victor Batarseh, 70 - affiliated with the formerly Marxist PFLP - chose Hamas as a partner in building his coalition. Batarseh, a U.S. citizen whose three grown children all live in the U.S., acknowledged he might have won by default. Voters supported "anyone who was not with the (Palestinian) Authority or with Fatah," he said.

2005-05-27 00:00:00

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