Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas insisted that there will be no general Palestinian election unless Israel allows Palestinians to vote in the heart of East Jerusalem.
Abbas made the remarks during his Fatah Movement’s Advisory Council meeting, held at the Palestinian Presidency headquarters on Sunday in Ramallah, according to the Palestinian News Agency (WAFA).
“We won’t hold any elections without having Jerusalem as part of it,” said Abbas, adding, “any resident of Jerusalem must go to vote in the heart of East Jerusalem.”
Abbas’ insistence on holding election in East Jerusalem is actually a challenge to the US President Donald Trump’s declaration at the end of 2017 that Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel.
Abbas declined to issue a presidential decree on setting dates for holding legislative and presidential elections in the Palestinian territories before getting Israel’s approval to include East Jerusalem in the voting.
Israeli media earlier reported that the Israeli government ignored the Palestinian Authority’s request.
In the same context, Palestine on Sunday slammed Israel’s decision to freeze millions of dollars from Palestinian tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
“The Israeli government’s decision to withhold 150m shekels, which amounts to $43.4m, from Palestine’s tax revenues is a blatant act of theft and political extortion,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO.
Ashrawi described the move as “a criminal act of collective punishment exacted for cynical domestic Israeli political reasons.”
“By this act of theft, the families of the victims of the Israeli occupation are punished and forced into poverty collectively. In the context of the current domestic political stalemate, Israel is intensifying its violations against the Palestinian people,” she said in a statement.
However, she reiterated that the Palestinian leadership will not stop paying allocations to families of the vulnerable social classes.
“The Palestinian leadership will not succumb to this political and financial aggression and will persist in discharging its duties towards all segments of the Palestinian people,” she said.
Israel said it will freeze 43 million dollars from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, which is the amount the Palestinian government pays monthly to the families of those killed or imprisoned by Israel.
In July last year, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, passed a law that allows Israeli authorities to withhold an amount equal to payments to families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israel.
The law was only partially implemented in 2019, starting from February.
In October, Palestine accepted to receive a payment of tax revenues collected by Israel on its behalf after rejecting deducted money transfers by Israel for eight months.