Jihad Abu Zneid, 38, a long-time women's-rights advocate in Shuafat in eastern Jerusalem and a candidate for the ruling Fatah movement in parliamentary elections scheduled for Jan. 25, believes her party has done enough wrong to deserve to lose. "Nobody follows the rules, nobody believes in the law....All the world is watching us as we build our state and our institutions, but this is the way to hell," says Ms. Abu Zneid. She hears the complaints of a fed-up electorate every time she goes campaigning. "They complain the Palestinian Authority doesn't touch their needs. They talk about the corruption."
Ms. Abu Zneid says she expects Hamas could win as many as 70 seats, enough to form a majority in the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council. Though she worries about a rollback in women's rights if that happens, she's not sure that a Hamas victory would be an entirely bad thing since it would finally introduce a batch of new, uncorrupted faces to Palestinian politics. A changing of the guard seems to be the primary desire of many Palestinians. A random street sampling revealed that eliminating corruption, rather than a renewed peace process or the return of Jerusalem, is the main concern for a significant part of the electorate. "They [Hamas] must be better than what we have now," said Abu Mohammed, a pharmacist in Ramallah.