A scuffle broke out between Hamas and Fatah supporters in Ramallah on Thursday as a Hamas activist hung a flag of the Islamic group from the building of the Palestinian parliament.
Palestinian Authority policemen separated the fighting rival activists who exchanged stones and curses. About 13 people were injured and windows were broken in the melee.
A Palestinian officer told Ynet that the Palestinian Authority instructed its security forces to avoid violent confrontation with Hamas, the unofficial winner of the parliamentary election.
Hamas spokesperson, Sami Abu-Zahri, said the Islamic group won 75 of the 132 seats up for grab in the Palestinian parliament. The Palestinian Elections Committee is expected to announce the final results in a press conference around 7 p.m.
'We will be puppets in the government'
Hamas turned to the Fatah movement soon after news of its victory and offered that the two join forces in the framework of a national unity government.
The offer was made in a talk between Hamas political bureau head Khaled Mashal and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Sources in Fatah said the possibility of joining a unity government will be discussed soon, adding the offer is likely to cause divisions within the partyâ€™s ranks.
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert instructed ministers not to comment on the surprise victory until the government formulates an official position on the development during an emergency meeting Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, a senior Fatah official told Ynet that the party is inclined to turn down Hamasâ€™ offer for a unity government. In talks between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and senior Fatah officials, only three officials voiced support for joining a Hamas-led government, the official said. â€œWe will be puppets in the government,â€ Fatah officials told Abbas.
Abbas is expected to demand Hamas form the next government as it sees right in a televised speech Thursday evening.
Palestinian sources said Finance Minister Salah Fayyad, who enjoys equal support in Fatah and Hamas, is the favorite to be nominated Prime Minister. In addition to forming the next government, Fayyad will be asked to keep the Finance Ministry.