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Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian elections depend on Israel passing the vote in East Jerusalem

The president of the Palestinian National Authority made the announcement after a meeting of the political factions in Ramallah about a possible postponement or cancellation of the legislative elections, scheduled for May 22, which will be followed by presidential elections at the end of July.

File photo: Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority (THAER GANAIM / ZUMA PRESS)

The first Palestinian elections in 15 years will be held only if Israel authorizes its organization in East Jerusalem, the eastern sector of the Holy City occupied by that country, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday.

Abbas made the remarks during a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Ramallah, in the West Bank, in which there was discussion about a possible postponement or cancellation of the Palestinian legislative elections, scheduled for May 22, which will be followed by presidential ones at the end of July.

Rumors have been spreading for several weeks about whether or not the elections will be held, under a calendar announced earlier this year by Abbas and established within the framework of a reconciliation agreement between his party, Fatah (secular) and the Islamists of Hamas.

Following the last legislative elections in 2006, tensions between Fatah and Hamas led to clashes and a geographical split in power. between the Palestinian Authority, controlled by Fatah and based in the occupied West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

East Jerusalem is not controlled by either side because Israel annexed it more than 50 years ago.

However, Mahmoud Abbas indicated on Thursday night that the organization of the elections depends on Israel approving the electoral campaign and the vote in East Jerusalem, where more than 300,000 Palestinians live.

“If within a week Israel accepts that the elections take place in Jerusalem, as in 2006, there will be elections. But so far we have not received authorization yet”Declared Abbas.

“If they [los israelíes] they say ‘yes’ tomorrow, then from tomorrow we will go ahead with the elections, “he added. the Palestinian president, 85 years old and faced with an internal rebellion within his formation. One of those movements is led by Mohamad Dahlan, an opponent in exile in the United Arab Emirates, and another by Naser al Kidwa, Yasser Arafat’s nephew.

Palestinians take part in a demonstration demanding President Mahmoud Abbas to hold elections on schedule, in Ramallah, West Bank, on April 29, 2021. REUTERS / Mohamad Torokman

Palestinians take part in a demonstration demanding President Mahmoud Abbas to hold elections on schedule, in Ramallah, West Bank, on April 29, 2021. REUTERS / Mohamad Torokman

The Islamist movement Hamas spoke out on Thursday against a possible delay in the Palestinian elections next month. The decision to postpone or cancel the elections “is the responsibility of whoever takes it,” the group said in a statement released at the time of tonight’s meeting in Ramallah.

In recent days Abbas reiterated his position that the elections scheduled for May 22 would not be held without a vote in East Jerusalem. On this issue, the Hamas statement said Thursday that “the solution is to hold a national meeting to discuss the mechanisms to impose elections in Jerusalem without permission or coordination ”with Israel, which he also pointed to as responsible for the possible delay of the elections and that he said seeks to keep the different Palestinian factions divided.

During the last week different representatives of the Islamist movement, which has ruled de facto in the Gaza Strip since 2007, had already shown their rejection of the postponement of the elections, arguing that “it would have repercussions on the future of Palestinian reconciliation” and could push “the Palestinian people into the unknown.”

The analyzes suggest that the electoral suspension would benefit Abbas, since his nationalist party, Fatah, has been divided and is running three different lists for the first elections called in 15 years.

With information from AFP and EFE

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