For Hamas, honeymoon’s over in a West Bank town (Joshua Mitnick, February 1, 2006, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

But after more than half a year of Hamas rule in Qalqilya, it was Fatah that carried the district’s two legislative seats — a reversal that many residents put down to disappointment with Hamas’ performance to date.

Hamas politicians are blaming the losses on voter fraud by Fatah activists, but the fragility of Hamas’ new mandate was obvious in a series of interviews in the town this week.

“There is disappointment with Hamas,” said Nidal Hanayel, who heads the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) party in Qalqilya. “The public didn’t feel any improvement in the town. They didn’t make good on their promises.” […]

Mutasem Kanfroi called the parliamentary vote in the city a “correction” for last spring’s municipal landslide and predicted the same would happen elsewhere after a period of Hamas rule. “There was a high tide, and now we’re returning to normal.”

“Hamas is indeed being tested,” said Mr. Hanayel, the PFLP leader. “Four years is not a long period,” he said of the time until the next parliamentary elections. “So let the people experience and judge.”

Now Hamas has to improve the lives of all Palestinians or be rejected, which is why they didn’t want to win and it’s a good thing they did.

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