One of the recurring myths sometimes repeated about the Gaza Strip’s relationship with Hamas is that the terrorist group gained control through the electoral process. On both the Monday and Tuesday editions of the CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley devoted a brief segment to providing background information on the Gaza Strip. And, on both nights, he erroneously suggested that Hamas came to power through election.

But, in reality, Hamas came to control the Gaza Strip by staging a violent coup in June 2007 overthrowing the rival Fatah party’s executive authority. After Hamas narrowly won the popular vote in the Janaury 2006 parliamentary elections, Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah party was still the legitimate president for both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. After Hamas overthrew Fatah’s executive authority in the Gaza Strip, Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade.

After Hamas took control of the Palestinian parliament in January 2006, Israel had joined with the Quartet entities — the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia — in imposing economic sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, affecting both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. But, after the Hamas coup in Gaza in 2007, sanctions affecting the West Bank were lifted to assist Fatah, while the blockade was imposed on the Gaza Strip to weaken Hamas.

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