Palestinian president likely to postpone elections: sources

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will “most likely” postpone the upcoming elections, according to well-informed sources on Monday.

The sources, who declined to be named, said Abbas may decide to postpone the elections in light of Israel’s no response to the Palestinian request to allow holding the elections in East Jerusalem.

Earlier on Monday, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye said at the weekly cabinet meeting that Abbas is going to head a meeting for the Palestinian leadership on Thursday night to discuss the elections.

In January, Abbas announced the 2021 general elections will 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.

The Palestinian leadership insists on holding the general elections in occupied East Jerusalem, as in the two previous legislative elections held in 1996 and 2006, and the 2005 presidential elections.

But so far, Israel has not given approval for holding them inside the occupied city.

The sources said that during Thursday night’s meeting, Abbas will brief all Palestinian factions, including the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), on the current efforts made to persuade Israel to allow the Palestinian elections in East Jerusalem.

“All indications show that Israel is not interested in giving a positive answer,” the sources added.

The sources said Abbas may propose to the Palestinian factions to form a unity government that works on ending the internal division and unifies the Palestinian institutions in case the elections are postponed.

On Sunday evening, Abbas, who chaired a meeting for Fatah party’s central committee in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said that elections can not be held without East Jerusalem.