Israeli police block Palestinian election meeting in Jerusalem

AMMAN: Israeli police have given their first public signal of opposition to the participation of Palestinians from East Jerusalem in the May 22 elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Authorities issued an order against the Ambassador Hotel, which was hosting an election-related event, demanding the hotel ensured that the event did not happen. Samer, a receptionist at the hotel, told Arab News that the police came with a written order to close the hall which was expected to hold the meeting. All of those invited were asked not to hold the meeting per the orders of the Israeli police.

Israeli police spokesman Wasim Bader told Arab News that a suspect was arrested and questioned but later released. “The Israel police will continue to monitor and act against any violation of the law,” he said.

Ghada Abu Rabae, a candidate for the Palestinian elections on the official Fatah list, told Arab News that she was given a written order to come to the police station where she was warned not to participate in the elections and then let go.

She later tweeted that the attempts to intimidate Palestinians from Jerusalem will not work. “I and all my family and friends will not be discouraged and we will continue to insist on our right to participate in the Palestinian democratic process in Jerusalem. Neither their security threats nor intimidation will stop us from insisting that Jerusalem is our capital.”

Nader Salaymeh, another Fatah candidate who attended the meeting, told Arab news that the police intervention was a violation of signed agreements.

“This was a meeting for civil society organizations in Jerusalem to discuss the upcoming elections,” he said.

Salaymeh insists that Jerusalemites are allowed as per the Oslo Accords to participate in elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council.

He added: “Any effort to stop our participation is a violation of the Declaration of Principles signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington in 1993.”

Salaymeh called on the international community to pay attention to the undemocratic actions of the Israeli authorities.

He said: “Article six of the Palestinian-Israeli Declaration of Principles details election arrangements concerning Jerusalem says that a subcommittee shall be established comprising representatives of the Palestinian Center Elections’ Commission and Israel, to coordinate issues relating to election campaigning in Jerusalem.”

No such subcommittee has been established despite four election cycles taking place involving Jerusalemites since 1993.

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