Photo: Flash 90

Abbas: no Palestinian elections “at any cost”

The Palestinian Authority has declared reluctance to hold national legislative and presidential elections, unless the State of Israel grants Arab residents of Jerusalem “permission to participate” in the balloting.

The decision was announced during a speech in Ramallah by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the nationalist West Bank-based Fatah party, who are the main rivals of the Islamist Hamas organization in control of the Gaza Strip. After referring to his vow to hold Palestinians elections during his address at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly last September, Abbas said “When we decided on these elections, we were serious to do them. We believe in elections, and we want the elections to happen because we have not had legislative nor presidential elections since 2006.” He then backtracked by stating, “we must do these elections – but not at any cost.”

The Palestinian President, whose 4-year term in office expired in 2009, then insisted “The elections should happen in the Palestinian territories,” which he defined as “the West Bank, Gaza and Quds” (Arabic term “Holy city” used for Jerusalem).

Abbas stated bluntly, “From the start, I am making it clear – that without the residents of Jerusalem voting in Jerusalem – there will be no elections.”