No Palestinian elections without Jerusalem: Hamas

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Allowing Palestinians in Jerusalem to take part in elections ‘constant, uncompromised position,’ says Hamas official

Ankara: Palestinian group Hamas on Monday reiterated the need to allow citizens in occupied East Jerusalem to cast ballots in upcoming Palestinian elections.

“We reiterate our assertion and insistence on the participation of our people in Jerusalem from inside Jerusalem in the upcoming elections, in terms of nomination, voting, and representation, as was the case in the 2006 elections,” Izzat al-Rishq, a Hamas political bureau member, said in an exclusive statement to Anadolu Agency.

Stressing that this is a “constant and uncompromised position”, he asserted that “there can be no elections without Jerusalem, because of the historical right and symbolic struggle it represents for the Palestinian people.”

Al-Rishq said the Palestinian people will use all its powers and means to pressure Israel to allow elections in Jerusalem.

“Our Arab and Islamic nation and the international community are required to put pressure on the [Israeli] occupation to prevent it from blocking holding elections in Jerusalem and to stand by our Palestinian people to achieve their aspirations for unity, freedom and independence,” he said.

“Jerusalem was and will remain the eternal capital of Palestine, and it is the symbol of our struggle and resistance.”

The Israeli government has so far made no response to requests to allow Palestinian citizens of East Jerusalem to cast ballots.

After a gap of 15 years, Palestinians are set to vote for an elected legislature on May 22 and presidential polls on July 31.

Besides the Palestinian Authority, the international community has repeatedly requested that Tel Aviv not obstruct the electoral process in East Jerusalem, which it has occupied since 1967.

Right-wing Israeli politicians reject Palestinian sovereignty in the city. They consider both West and East Jerusalem the Israeli capital, a claim rejected by both Palestinians and the international community.

Under the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, Jerusalemites are supposed to be allowed to vote in Palestinian elections at post offices affiliated with the Israeli authority.

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