Hamas, the militant and political group in the Palestinian Territories have said that they win the Palestinian Authority Parliamentary election, they would ban men and women dancing together and will strip gay men and women of the few rights they have in the territory that they have at present.

Dr Mahmoud Zahar (pictured), the groups leader in Gaza, in an article on an Arabic website condemned the rights that gays have in Israel and made it clear that he thinks that gays are perverts. “Are these the laws for which the Palestinian street is waiting? For us to give rights to homosexuals and to lesbians, a minority of perverts and the mentally and morally sick?” He asked on the Elaph website.

Similarly, he said that if his group won the parliamentary elections he would seek to turn the secular authority, which has Christian, Atheist and Jewish citizens in addition to Muslims, into an Islamic Republic.

Dr Zahar said that men and women would no longer be able to dance together in public, “A man holds a woman by the hand and dances in front of everyone. Does that serve the national problem? If so, why have corruption and prostitution become pervasive?”

He also stated that Hamas would gradually seek a withdrawal from the peace settlement with Israel. “Israel is not our God. It was defeated, and those who are defeated cannot set conditions.”

Despite the impression that Dr Zahar made, homosexuality is officially illegal in the Palestinian Authority and can result in long prison sentences or a death sentence if authorised by the President.

Israel remains the only country in the Middle East to declare homosexuality as legal and is reportedly moving towards a civil partnership scheme that will benefit gay couples.