PA Asks Israel to Allow Jerusalem Voting during Next Election

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: via MEMO)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) said on Tuesday its heralded national election must also be held in East Jerusalem, an area annexed by Israel, raising a demand on which a still-unscheduled vote could hinge, reports Reuters.

Palestinians’ last parliamentary ballot in 2006 resulted in a surprise win by Hamas, widening an internal political rift that led to the Islamist group’s seizure of the Gaza Strip in 2007 and contributed to the long delay in setting further elections.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the rival Fatah party and is based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said in September he would issue a decree for national elections, but gave no date.

Hamas supported the move, while PA officials put Israel on the spot by requesting it again allow polling stations in East Jerusalem to operate, as they had in the parliamentary ballot in 2006 and a presidential election a year earlier.

That message was echoed on Tuesday by Abbas, who said in a statement issued by the PA’s WAFA news agency that “legislative elections must be held in Jerusalem”.

Israel forbids any official activity in Jerusalem by the Western-backed PA, saying it breaches the 1990s interim peace deals with the Palestinians. An Israeli official said on Tuesday Israel was aware of the Palestinians’ request but “has not yet taken a position on it”.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move that has not won international recognition. It regards all of Jerusalem as its capital.

Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they want to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

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