Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to announce the cancellation of the Palestinian elections under the pretext of Israel’s refusal to allow Jerusalemites to cast their votes, various local and Israeli sources have reported. Abbas is also the head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation as well as the Fatah movement.
Israeli Army Radio reported that the PA had informed representatives of the international community, Jordan, and Egypt about the decision. It is believed that the Palestinian leadership will convene in Ramallah on Thursday.
According to PA officials, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been invited to attend the meeting where Abbas is set to make the cancellation announcement.
President Abbas and several Fatah officials have insisted repeatedly that there would be no elections without the participation of the Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem. The latest occasion was on Monday when Abbas addressed the Fatah Central Committee.
Hussein al-Sheikh, Minister of Civil Affairs and member of Fatah Central Committee said today that “the Israeli government has officially informed us that the Israeli position on holding elections in East Jerusalem remains negative.”
He said in a statement, that all that is being rumored by some parties that the Israeli government has agreed to allow the elections, including in East Jerusalem, is “unfounded.”
Sheikh stressed at the same time that “the official party that must receive the official Israeli answer is the Palestinian National Authority.”
Israeli refusal to allow Palestinian legislative elections planned for May 22 to be held in occupied East Jerusalem may lead to either postponing the elections or canceling them.
However, Al-Quds newspaper reported informed sources as saying that the PA had decided to cancel the elections “under heavy American and Arab pressure.” Washington and regional countries apparently “believe that the results of the elections will not favor Fatah.”
The implication is that the US and regional states fear another Hamas victory at the polls. Once again, it seems, the people of occupied Palestine are going to be denied their democratic right to choose their political representatives freely and fairly.
The same sources added that the US had informed the PA that it would introduce several measures prior to any elections, including the resumption to aid to UNRWA, rehabilitating the Palestinian healthcare system, reopening the US Consulate in occupied Jerusalem, and reopening the PLO’s office in Washington.
The US administration believes that these measures will help the moderate [sic] Palestinians get better results in the elections,” it was claimed. Critics say that these are the sweeteners to encourage Abbas to cancel the elections.
Israeli sources reported by Safa news agency said that Abbas had commissioned a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee, Hussein Al-Sheikh, to persuade Qatar to ask for Hamas’s agreement on the election cancellation under the pretext of “inappropriate” conditions in the region.