Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasFlash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas officially announced on Thursday night that the Palestinian elections would be postponed.

“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.

Earlier on Thursday, Abbas spoke at a meeting of PA factions in Ramallah and said that Israel had refused to allow Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem to vote in the elections.

He added that the elections would be held "within a week" of Israel's acquiescence to the PA holding the vote in eastern Jerusalem.

“This isn’t a technical issue, but rather an fundamental political one," he said.

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.