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Most East Jerusalem Palestinians can vote in areas that don’t need Israel’s okay

The majority of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem can vote in the first Palestinian legislative elections in 15 years set for next month, the electoral commission announces.

However, several thousand may yet still be excluded, amid ongoing concerns that the landmark vote might not get off the ground at all.

Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem are set to vote in the legislative polls on May 22, ahead of a planned presidential vote in July.

Women wear face mask as they waiting at the registration station of the Central Elections Commission to register their names to the electoral roll, at Gaza City, February 10, 2021. (Adel Hana/AP)

In a statement, the Palestinian Central Elections Commission says 150,000 voters in East Jerusalem will be able to cast ballots at polling stations on the outskirts of the holy city, in a process that does not require a green light from Israel.

Separately, a symbolic total of 6,300 voters are allowed to cast their ballots in East Jerusalem itself, in post offices under Israeli supervision, according to protocols that Israel and the Palestinians signed as part of the Oslo peace accords.

Palestinians say it is critical to allow even limited voting inside the bounds of East Jerusalem, which they hope will be the capital of their future state.

While Israel granted approval for voting in post offices in the 2006 legislative elections, they have not signaled that they will do so this time around, according to elections commission spokesperson Fareed Taamallah.

“They didn’t respond to the request from the Palestinian Authority to implement the protocol,” he says.

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