Posted 9 months ago
The Palestinian leadership will convene debate a proposal to postpone next month's elections if Israel does not allow voting in east Jerusalem. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said at a Cabinet meeting Monday that the leadership would discuss the elections this week, when representatives of all the main factions are set to meet. Delaying the vote could have massive international implications as the moderate Fatah party, has become paralized by divisions and the internationally community fears the militant Hamas movement will gain power and influence in the election.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. Israel views the entire city as its unified capital and bars the Palestinian Authority from operating there. Under interim peace agreements reached in the 1990s, some 6,000 Palestinians in east Jerusalem are allowed to submit ballots through Israeli post offices, which requires Israel's permission. The rest of the 150,000 Palestinian voters in the city can cast ballots with or without Israel's permission, according to the Palestinian elections commission. However a recent spike in violence has called into question if Israel will allow voting for Palestinians living in the area.
For many Palestinians, holding an election without the participation of the thousands in the city would be an unacceptable and would amount to recognizing Israel's claims to the entire city. But delaying or cancelling the elections could prove controversial. Nour Odeh, a parliamentary candidate for a rival list, tweeted her oppostion to the delay saying the move would be “an attempt to make the status quo of stagnation & internal failure permanent." And that "Using Jerusalem as an excuse is also cynical. Israel must not (have) veto power over our right to hold elections. This is a battle we must fight and win!”.
In January, Abbas decreed that parliamentary elections should be held May 22, following by a presidential election on July 31. They would be the first since 2006, when Hamas won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections. That sparked an internal crisis culminating in the militant group's violent seizure of Gaza from Abbas' forces the following year.
Since then, the Palestinians have been split by rival authorities, with Hamas ruling Gaza and Abbas' authority limited to parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Topic: World News
Tags: Palestinian Israel Jerusalem Palestinian Elections Hamas Nour Odeh Fatah Jerusalem Violence