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J Street pans Abbas delay of Palestinian elections

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech regarding the coronavirus pandemic, at PA headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 5, 2020.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech regarding the coronavirus pandemic, at PA headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 5, 2020.

The dovish J Street lobby issues a statement expressing concern over Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to indefinitely delay elections scheduled for next month.

“It’s clear that Palestinians have suffered greatly from a lack of democratic processes stemming from their internal political divisions, and that a newly elected and legitimized leadership would be better positioned to advocate for Palestinian rights and aspirations in the face of endless occupation and de facto annexation,” the group says.

“We believe that Palestinian political reconciliation… is an essential condition needed to successfully negotiate a two-state peace agreement and create a globally recognized independent Palestinian state.”

“At the same time, we recognize the challenges involved with attempting to integrate Palestinian factions committed to nonviolence and diplomacy with those, like Hamas, that have frequently engaged in violence and terror. It’s critical that any new Palestinian government resulting from new elections continue to recognize Israel and reject violence as a tactic,” the group adds.

J Street notes the reason why Abbas chose to delay elections — alleged refusal by Israel to allow them to take place in East Jerusalem. The lobby says the matter is a legitimate concern and the US should urge Israel to allow elections to take place there but argues that that reason alone is not enough to justify the delay.

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