Abbas said during a meeting of the Fatah Central Committee in Ramallah, the faction’s highest decision-making body, that citizens of east Jerusalem should be able to run for office, cast ballots, and hold election gatherings in the district.
Abbas’ remarks came amid growing speculation that he could postpone or even cancel the May 22 and July 31 parliamentary and presidential elections.
In a statement issued following the conference, the Fatah committee stated that elections will not take place without Jerusalem.
“The elections should take place in Jerusalem, our eternal capital, and its people should be allowed to present their candidacy, vote and hold electoral campaigns,” the statement read. “Failing to hold the elections in Jerusalem means returning to the Deal of the Century (former US president Donald Trump’s plan for Mideast peace).”
Abbas is scheduled to call a meeting of leaders of several Palestinian factions soon to discuss the crisis surrounding the inclusion of Jerusalem’s Arabs in the elections.
According to Palestinian reports, Abbas is not ruling out the prospect of postponing or cancelling the polls and blaming Israel for not allowing the vote to take place in Jerusalem.
During the Fatah conference, Abbas said, “Jerusalem is a red line.” “No one will be able to harm it.”
He thanked east Jerusalem residents for their “steadfastness in the face of Israeli schemes aimed at controlling the holy city.” He was reacting to the recent unrest in Jerusalem, in which scores of young people fought with police and injured a number of Jewish citizens.
Abbas urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to uphold the signed agreements between the Palestinians and Israel, which allow Jerusalem Arabs with Israeli-issued ID cards (but not Israeli citizens) to vote in Palestinian elections.
Abbas has emphasised the importance of continuing negotiations with the Quartet founders – the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia – and other groups to initiate a peace dialogue with Israel focused on the two-state solution.