Ramallah (UNA-OIC) – The Central Elections Commission (CEC) said today that 150,000 eligible Palestinian voters from East Jerusalem who live in the suburbs, out of a total of over 300,000 Palestinian residents of the occupied city, can vote in the upcoming Palestinian legislative elections without Israeli obstructions since they do not require Israeli approval.
These Palestinians live in neighborhoods such as Kufr Aqab, to the north of Jerusalem, and Shufat refugee camp, to the east, which were separated from the holy city since 2004 with an 8-meter high concrete barrier and Israeli army-controlled crossings but remain as part of the Jerusalem municipal lines.
The CEC has provided 11 polling stations in these suburbs to enable the 150,000 residents to vote without prior registration and has trained the technical teams needed to carry out this task. Approximately 60 Palestinians from East Jerusalem were nominated within the various electoral lists.
The Palestinian leadership, in a letter to the Israeli authorities, reaffirmed its intentions to conduct elections in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip on May 22 in accordance with existing protocols applied in the previous two legislative elections in 1996 and 2006 in which Palestinian in East Jerusalem were able to vote at six post offices in the city, which hold a maximum capacity of 6,300 voters. This action requires Israeli approval due to the post offices being under Israeli control.
The CEC said that in the event of the Palestinian leadership not receiving a response from the Israeli authorities before the commencement of the election campaigning period on April 30, which is set to include Jerusalem, or within a reasonable timeframe, it, serving as an executive authority, is prepared to take additional measures.
These measures will be based on the direction of the political leadership and consultations with both the Islamic and national political factions who have made great strides in forming their electoral lists, it said.
The CEC also denounced the Israeli arrests of Legislative Council candidates, particularly those running in occupied Jerusalem.