Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammad Shatyyeh on Thursday called on the international community to pressure Israel to allow Palestinian Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem to participate in the general elections to the Palestinian Parliament in accordance with the agreements signed between the parties.
"Palestinian democracy must not be held captive by the mood of the occupation, as the agreements stipulate that all Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Al-Quds (eastern Jerusalem -ed.), are allowed to participate in the elections and present their candidacy, and we want the international community to make its voice heard on this issue,” he said at a meeting with 51 ambassadors and consuls in Ramallah.
Shtayyeh also requested the presence of international observers who would oversee the Palestinian parliamentary elections.
He added that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the PA organizations are determined to hold the parliamentary elections as a first step toward ending the split and restoring national unity. Representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are expected to run in the parliamentary elections.
Abbas last week issued a decree ordering general elections in PA-assigned territories.
The decree states that legislative elections will take place on May 22. A “presidential” election will take place on July 31. It sets a deadline of August 31 for establishing the Palestinian National Council.
Abbas' term as PA chairman was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.
No PA elections have taken place since 2006 and similar initiatives in the past have failed to result in elections.