PA demands: Hold elections in eastern Jerusalem as well

PA cabinet leader calls on international community to pressure Israel to allow PA elections to be held in eastern Jerusalem.

Dalit Halevi ,

Mohammad Shtayyeh
Mohammad Shtayyeh
Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh on Tuesday called for international pressure on Israel to ensure that the Palestinian parliamentary and presidential elections are held in eastern Jerusalem.

At a meeting with British diplomats at his Ramallah office, Shtayyeh said, "We would not agree to any scenario in which elections in al-Quds (eastern Jerusalem) are prevented when they are held in all Palestinian cities and districts."

"Holding elections in al-Quds is a national and political priority and failure to implement them is the basis for separating the city from the rest of the Palestinian territories," he added.

Shtayyeh noted that there is a genuine and serious political will on the part of the Palestinian leadership, headed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, to hold parliamentary and presidential elections.

He said that calls have been made to international officials for them to intervene and pressure Israel to agree to elections in the "occupied city."

Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian legislative polls, which were the last ones to have been held. Abbas recently renewed a pledge to hold fresh parliamentary elections, though many were skeptical he would go through with them, as he has made similar pledges in the past.

On Monday, the PA chairman made clear that the elections will not take place if Israel does not allow Palestinian Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem to vote.

Abbas' term as PA chairman was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.

His Fatah faction declared last month that the 84-year-old will be its “sole candidate” in the election.