Turkey calls on Israel to allow Palestine to hold elections in East Jerusalem
Turkey has called on Israel to allow the Palestinians to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections in East Jerusalem after Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas decided to postpone the elections scheduled for May 22 following Israel’s rejection of their request.
“We call on the Israeli government to put an end to its obstructive behavior by abiding by the provisions of the 1995 Oslo Interim Agreement in order to ensure that the Palestinian elections are held as soon as possible,” said the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a written statement on April 30.
The ministry recalled that it learned with great sorrow that Palestinian authorities have decided to postpone the parliamentary elections to be held for the first time since 2006. Israel’s rejection of holding an election campaign and not answering to the request of the Palestinians to hold elections in East Jerusalem constitute the main reason for this postponement, the statement read.
“On the other hand, we hope that the decision taken to postpone the elections will not adversely affect the inter-Palestinian reconciliation process, which our country attaches great importance to, and we encourage all Palestinian groups to continue to work towards unity and reconciliation,” it stated.
Abbas, in a televised speech on April 29, announced the decision not to hold elections with Jerusalem excluded from voting. “We will not go for the elections without occupied Jerusalem. I want elections in Jerusalem as in the West Bank,” he said, adding the Israeli side had not answered the Palestinian request for holding the polls in Jerusalem “because there is no Israeli government to take such a decision.”
Abbas added that the European Union informed the Palestinian side of their disappointment over not getting an answer from the Israeli side. He revealed that the Israelis threatened to detain Hanna Nasser, the chairman of the Central Elections Commission, if he went to Jerusalem to prepare for the elections.
Abbas stressed, however, once Israel permits elections in Jerusalem, he would hold the polls “within a week.”