Middle east

‘In Jerusalem as in Ramallah’: Abbas Delays Palestinian Elections After Israel Blocks City’s Votes

Israel’s separation wall cordoning off large portions of the West Bank from Israel has divided East Jerusalem’s suburbs from its central city. As a result, about 150,000 of its 314,000 Palestinian residents live outside the walls under Palestinian Authority governance, while the rest are under the city’s Israeli administration.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said early Friday morning that the anticipated Palestinian elections will be postponed “until the participation of our people in Jerusalem is guaranteed.”

“Israel is still determined not to allow elections to take place in Jerusalem, and we, on our part, have repeatedly tried to hold gatherings of representatives and candidates of the electoral blocs [in Jerusalem], but were attacked and barred from holding any activity,” Abbas said, according to the WAFA news agency. “Today, a message came from Israel and the United States stating: ‘We cannot give you an answer on Jerusalem because we don’t have a government to decide that and we’re busy with the [Israeli] elections. This excuse is not convincing.”

“We want the elections to be held in Jerusalem as they are in Ramallah, including the election campaigning, the arrival of candidates, and the freedom of action of the Central Elections Committee,” Abbas continued, adding that the Israelis had said if the Palestinian Central Elections Commission president, Hanna Nasser, were to go to Jerusalem, “we should send a lawyer with him to defend him upon his arrest.”

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