PA Says Moving Forward on Elections

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas speaks in July, 2019. (Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM – The Palestinian Authority said on Tuesday it took a step toward the holding of elections, as it formally requested permission from Israel for Palestinians residing in east Yerushalayim to participate.

“We officially asked Israel to allow East Jerusalem residents to participate in legislative and presidential elections in terms of running and voting,” tweeted Hussein al-Sheikh, the head of the PA Civil Affairs Commission. “We are awaiting Israel’s response.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas told the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in September that he would soon call for general elections in the Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile, Hamas, though a bitter rival of the PA, has declared its willingness to participate in the elections.

Asked whether Israel received a request from the Palestinians to hold elections in east Yerushalayim, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office said he was looking into the matter, The Times of Israel reported.

Israel allowed PA elections to be held in east Yerushalayim in 1996, 2005 and 2006.

However, a number of technical and political issues related to such elections, such as who would provide security, have not been resolved between Hamas and Fatah, the PA’s central body. And given the uncertain Israeli political situation, it appeared doubtful that elections would go ahead in the near term.

In any case, no date has been set for it.