Jerusalem. 'The UAE-Israel agreement, welcomed by the European Union, represents a severe blow to the Arab Peace Initiative. The text represents a recognition of Israel's sovereignty over occupied East Jerusalem' (Photo: RonnyPohl)

Senior Palestinian officials say legislative elections cannot be held without occupied East Jerusalem


Two members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said today that Palestinian legislative elections cannot be held without occupied East Jerusalem taking a full part in them.

Azzam al-Ahmad, who is also a member of the ruling Fatah Central Committee headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, and Ahmad Majdalani said in two separate remarks that the Palestinian legislative elections planned for May 22 cannot be held without the inclusion of Jerusalem in nomination for parliament seats and voting at polling stations set up in the occupied city.

“There will be no elections without Jerusalem,” said al-Ahmad in an interview on Palestine TV. “It is a key partner in the democratic process.”

He said that the Palestinian leadership has studied various scenarios in the event that the Israeli occupation government prevented the holding of elections in the holy city, stressing that holding them in Jerusalem is considered a resistance to decisions regarding the city by the Israeli government and former US administration of Donald Trump.

“We have an understanding with Hamas and all the factions, and we agree that there will be no elections without Jerusalem,” said the PLO and Fatah official.

However, he added, there will be no going back no elections, which will be held on the due date.

“We asked our brothers and friends to support our decisions and help us overcome any obstacles that arise before us in holding the elections,” said al-Ahmad, adding that Israel has informed international observers, especially Europeans, not to come to monitor the elections under the pretext of the corona pandemic.

In this regard, he said, the Palestinian leadership is acting to resolve this matter, which he said is one of the obstacles that Israel is trying to place in the way of holding the elections.

Majdalani, meanwhile, also stressed in a statement that it will be impossible to hold the Palestinian legislative elections without the participation of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and inside the city itself.

He called on the international community, the EU, Russia, and China to pressure Israel to allow elections to be held in East Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is not an electoral slogan, rather it is the core of the conflict,” said the PLO official, stressing that the right of Palestinians in Jerusalem to take part in the democratic process will not be compromised, warning that Israel is seeking to obstruct holding the elections in Palestine.

Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem participated freely in the previous two elections in 1996 and 2006 as deemed in the Oslo accords reached in 1993 between the PLO and Israel under US auspices.

At least 2.8 million Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip have registered to vote, as registration for the lists of candidates ends tomorrow, Wednesday.

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