European countries denounce postponement of PA elections

France, Germany, Italy and Spain urge PA to announce new date for elections as soon as possible.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas

France, Germany, Italy and Spain on Friday expressed disappointment over Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas' decision to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for May.

"We call upon the Palestinian Authority to put forward a new electoral calendar as soon as possible," the four major European Union countries said in a joint statement quoted by Reuters.

"We call on Israel to facilitate the holding of such elections across all of the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, on the basis of past agreements," they added.

Abbas officially announced on Thursday night that the Palestinian elections would be postponed, citing Israel’s refusal to allow Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote.

“We have decided to postpone the election until the participation of our people in Jerusalem is guaranteed,” Abbas said in a speech that aired on PA TV.

Abbas recently issued a decree ordering general elections in PA-assigned territories.

The decree stated that legislative elections would take place on May 22. A “presidential” election was to have taken place on July 31. The decree set a deadline of August 31 for establishing the Palestinian National Council.

The PA has continuously demanded that Israel permit Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote in the elections. In this regard, PA officials have been working in the international arena in an attempt to get Israel to agree to this demand.

The PA has in the past used Israel’s refusal to permit Jerusalem Arabs to vote as an excuse not to hold elections at all.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)