And after Mr. Kidwa and Mr. Barghouti broke with Mr. Abbas in March, a senior Palestinian official said in an interview with The New York Times that the move put the elections at risk because it risked undermining Fatah.

“Fatah’s situation needs to be strong, it needs to lead the Palestine Liberation Organization and the national project,” said Wassel Abu Yousef, a member of the executive committee of the P.L.O., the official representative of the Palestinian people. “If there is harm to the national project, there will be heavy and powerful voices that will be in favor of postponing the elections.”

Some Palestinians met the postponement with a shrug. Many felt the elections would not have occurred in a particularly free environment, while some always suspected they would be canceled. Others felt voting for a Palestinian Parliament would have little effect on the biggest problem in their lives: the Israeli occupation.

Elections suggest “there is a sovereign entity in which people are participating in a democratic process,” said Yara Hawari, a senior analyst at Al Shabaka, a Palestinian research group. “But you can’t have a full democracy under occupation.”

Many Palestinians were nevertheless furious at being deprived of a rare chance to choose their representatives. Crowds of protesters, many of whom were too young to vote in the last Palestinian elections, demonstrated against the decision in both the West Bank and Gaza.

“The people demand the ballot box,” they chanted.

Muhammad Shehada, a 28-year-old unemployed civil engineer from Gaza City, called the decision “a big disappointment.” The situation in Jerusalem was no reason to cancel the elections, he said: “The occupation controls Jerusalem, whether the elections are held or not.”

The lack of elections also raises the specter of intra-Palestinian violence, since different factions will now have no peaceful forum in which to air their grievances and express their frustrations, said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University in Gaza City.

“Many Palestinians were hoping that elections would ease the tension and friction between the factions,” said Dr. Abusada. But the election delay, he said, “will leave the Palestinians fighting against each other.”

Iyad Abuhweila contributed reporting from Gaza City, and Irit Pazner Garshowitz from Jerusalem.

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