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Convicted Palestinian Terrorist Elected City Council Head In West Bank’s Largest City

REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/File Photo

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

A former terrorist responsible for murdering six Israelis was elected head of the Hebron city council Saturday, according to various reports.

Tayseer Abu Sneineh, a member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, won the post despite his party winning only seven of 15 seats in West Bank’s largest city.

Sneineh, along with three other Palestinians, fired weapons and threw grenades at the six Israelis on May 2, 1980. Two of the victims were also U.S. citizens, and one other was Canadian. Sneineh and his compatriots were convicted of murder and received life sentences, but were later released as part of a prisoner swap.

The election was a rarity in the Palestinian territories, which has gone without a legislative or presidential election in more than a decade. Hamas and the left wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine did not participate in the election. In turn, voter turnout in large cities was remarkably low.

Fatah and Hamas continue to have political differences, preventing new elections. The last joint election occurred in 2006, which saw Hamas overtake the ruling Fatah party in the legislature. The results created controversy both inside and outside of the territories. Abbas’s term was supposed to end in 2009, but he remained in his post and has failed to schedule new elections since.

The political divide between the two Palestinian parties has stalled the peace process with Israel, and could hamper President Donald Trump’s attempts to restart negotiations.

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