Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas tells a gathering of the extended Palestinian leadership that Israel informed the Palestinians that they could not hold election events in Jerusalem as no Israeli government has yet been formed to consider their request to do so.
“A persuasive reason, and we’d accept it. But which government, then, establishes thousands of settlements every day?” Abbas says. “This is unacceptable nonsense.”
The first Palestinian legislative elections in 15 years are set to take place on May 22. But rumors are circulating that Abbas, fearful of losing to his rivals, will cancel the planned vote tonight over the alleged Israeli refusal.
In a long speech, Abbas says the Palestinian Authority sought numerous times to engage its European and American partners on the subject of holding elections in Jerusalem, but to no avail.
According to Abbas, European Union envoys also told the Palestinian side after meeting with Israeli officials that Israel would not countenance a vote in East Jeruaslem.
Abbas says that the Palestinian leadership will debate how to resolve the crisis tonight at an extended meeting. Hamas and Islamic Jihad both are boycotting the meeting in protest of alleged plans to delay or cancel the elections.
Abbas hints that he is willing to cancel elections over Jerusalem, telling his audience that the question of Jerusalem makes these elections “totally different” than prior ones.
“Now, Israel is saying, ‘this isn’t yours, no matter what.’ What happened in 1996, 2005 and 2006, is one thing, and now is totally different,” Abbas says, referring to previous Palestinian elections.