Palestinians are voting in local West Bank elections today that could determine the fate of the peace process. The Islamic militant group Hamas is expected to make a strong showing, setting the stage for landmark parliamentary elections in January. Hamas is popular because of its schools and charities, and its suicide bombing campaign against Israel. It is an alternative to the ruling Palestinian Authority, which is widely seen as corrupt. But Hamas seeks the destruction of the Jewish state, and both Israel and the US see it as a terrorist organization. Israel is trying to block Hamas participation in elections and subsequently the government, saying terrorism and democracy do not go hand-in-hand.
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