PA President Mahmoud Abbas: No Palestinian elections without Jerusalem

He praised the residents of east Jerusalem for their “steadfastness in the face of Israeli schemes aiming to control the holy city.”

The Palestinian Authority will not hold general elections without the participation of Jerusalem residents, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday night.

He made his remarks during a meeting in Ramallah of the Fatah Central Committee, the faction’s highest decision-making body.

The residents of east Jerusalem should be allowed to run as candidates, cast their ballots and hold election gatherings in the city, Abbas said.

His remarks came amid increased reports that he may delay or even cancel the parliamentary and presidential elections, slated for May 22 and July 31, respectively.

There would be no elections without Jerusalem, the Fatah Central Committee said after the meeting.

“The elections should take place in Jerusalem, our eternal capital, and its people should be allowed to present their candidacy, vote and hold electoral campaigns,” it said in a statement. “Failing to hold the elections in Jerusalem means returning to the ‘Deal of the Century’ [former US president Donald Trump’s plan for Middle East peace].”

Abbas is scheduled to call a meeting of leaders of several Palestinian factions soon to discuss the crisis surrounding the inclusion of Jerusalem’s Arabs in the elections.

Palestinian sources said they did not rule out the possibility that Abbas would announce the postponement or cancellation of the elections and blame Israel for not allowing the vote to take place in Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is a redline,” Abbas said during the Fatah meeting. “We won’t allow anyone to harm it.”

The residents of east Jerusalem have shown “steadfastness in the face of Israeli schemes aiming to control the holy city,” he said, referring to the violence that erupted in Jerusalem over the past two weeks, during which dozens of youths clashed with police and assaulted Jewish civilians.

Abbas called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to adhere to the signed agreements between the Palestinians and Israel, which allow Jerusalem Arabs who hold Israeli-issued ID cards, but are not Israeli citizens, to participate in Palestinian elections.

Abbas also stressed the importance of pursuing efforts with the Quartet – US, European Union, United Nations and Russia – and other parties to launch a political process with Israel based on the two-state solution.

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