Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has called on the European Union (EU) to pressure Israel to allow the long-awaited Palestinian legislative elections to be held in Jerusalem al-Quds.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday postponed the planned vote, the first Palestinian elections in 15 years, amid a dispute over voting in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds and divisions in his Fatah party.
The delay drew immediate criticism from many Palestinians and from would-be voters. No Palestinian under 34 has taken part in national elections.
The decision was also criticized by the Gaza-based Palestinian Hamas resistance movement, with Ismail Haniyeh, the head of its political bureau, insisting that the move lacked any credible justification.
Haniyeh also said that the polls were a necessity in tackling the threats to the Palestinian cause, such as the so-called deal of the century, and Israel's annexation plans.
On Sunday, Shtayyeh stressed that the legislative elections were just postponed, and not canceled. He also called on the EU to pressure Israel to allow the Palestinian vote to be held in Jerusalem al-Quds, Palestine's official Wafa news agency reported.
He also called on the EU to pressure the regime to allow Palestinians there to both cast their votes and run as electoral candidates.
Shtayyeh’s remarks were made during a meeting with the EU representative to Palestine, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, in the premier’s office in Ramallah.
The comments came as Israeli authorities have made many efforts to either cancel or postpone the Palestinian elections.
Fatah split into three factions in the run-up to the elections — an official list of candidates backed by Abbas; a faction led by Palestinian political figure Marwan Barghouti; and another slate sponsored by former Fatah security official Mohammad Dahlan, who currently resides in Abu Dhabi.
Hundreds of Palestinians staged rallies in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip to protest Abbas’ decision to postpone the parliamentary elections.
The participants chanted slogans in condemnation of the delay and reaffirmed their right to hold democratic elections.
Israeli forces have escalated an arrest campaign targeting key Hamas figures in the West Bank in recent months, detaining Mustafa al-Shanar, Adnan Asfour, Khalid al-Hajj, Omar al-Hanbali, Jamal al-Tawil, and Khatam al-Qafisheh, among others.
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