Palestine says expects no Israeli response to request for holding elections in East Jerusalem

Palestine expects that Israel won’t respond to the Palestinian request for allowing Palestinians in East Jerusalem to participate in the upcoming general elections, officials said Monday.

“Ignoring the official Palestinian request is a clear response that the Israeli government doesn’t want to allow the Palestinian elections in East Jerusalem,” Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

In January, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the 2021 general elections include the legislative elections on May 22, the presidential elections on July 31, and the elections of the Palestinian National Council, the highest decision-making body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, on Aug. 31.

Earlier in the day, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke by phone with his Palestinian counterpart Abbas on the occasion of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the official news agency WAFA reported.

WAFA, however, didn’t say if they discussed the Palestinian request to hold elections in East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Hana Nasser, chairman of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (PCEC), said in a press statement that the PCEC is ready for holding the legislative elections in East Jerusalem and the entire Palestinian territories.

“The commission is ready for holding the elections in Jerusalem under the agreed-upon protocols with the Israeli side that allow the voting at six voting centers at the post offices in the eastern part of the city,” he said.

According to Nasser, there are 150,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem who have the right to vote.

In case Israel doesn’t respond until April 30, “the commission has other arrangements to ensure the success of the voting process,” the Palestinian official noted.

The Palestinians say Israel allowed the holding of elections in East Jerusalem in the last legislative elections held in 2006.

The Palestinians seek to elect a new parliament and a new president through general elections in all the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.