The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has said it is opposes the participation of East Jerusalem Palestinians in the West Jerusalem municipal elections this October.
East Jerusalem, home to over 350,000 Palestinian residents, has boycotted the West Jerusalem municipal election since the occupation of the city in June 1967. However, calls have recently been made for East Jerusalem residents to vote in the upcoming elections so that they can have a say in decisions which affect their lives. Ramadan Dabash, founder of the political party ‘Jerusalem for Jerusalemites’, is in favour of East Jerusalemites taking part in the elections. He believes that East Jerusalemites should now seek an active role in local politics and their local city hall.
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat and the Executive Committee strongly oppose this idea, arguing that the participation of Palestinians in the elections would lend legitimacy to the illegal occupation. In a statement, Erekat declared that ‘any participation in the elections will assist the Israeli establishment in promoting the ‘greater Jerusalem’ project’.