As talks on a “unity” government between Fatah and Hamas drag on and new elections could result, the US has begun a $42 million program to bolster opponents of Hamas. As reported in Haaretz:
Ahead of [the January] election, the United States tried to help the then Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, but critics said the push came too late to assist the long-dominant movement, which was handicapped by infighting and accusations of corruption.
The U.S.-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) said it recently began talks with the leaders of Fatah and other parties about how they could improve their performance in any election.
Michael Murphy, who runs NDI operations in the West Bank and Gaza, said the focus for now was on internal party reform, but that the programme, in close coordination with the State Department, would also look for ways to help Fatah and others get their message across to voters.
The International Republican Institute, which has also worked in the West Bank and Gaza for years, recently received funds for a new programme to give training and strategic advice to several Palestinian independent parties, though it said politicians would not get direct financial help.
It is not clear how President Abbas (of Fatah) would call an early election, as the presidency does not have that authority. But to call the Palestinian Authority “institutionalized” would be charitable.