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."
Mr. Hanayel said the new town council has made little progress on what it had identified as its top priority -- building new schools and hospitals. At the same time, residents resented the council's decision to ban an international dance festival last summer to prevent social mixing between women and men.
Feb 1, 2006
Some Palestinians are already tired of Hamas
West Bank town goes for Fatah following disappointment with the Hamas-run town council.