PA to Israel: “Let Our People Vote

Press Releases
May 11, 2005


East Jerusalem, Israeli-occupied West Bank 

Yesterday, Israeli forces closed two Palestinian voter registration centers in occupied East Jerusalem, one in Wadi Joz and another near the Magharbi Gate. Two female employees were arrested and later released after being bailed on condition of refraining from participation in any further election-related work. Palestinian officials denounced the Israeli closures as a provocation and a violation of the Road Map.

“With [new Palestinian president] Mahmoud Abbas, we’re building Palestinian support for a quick and peaceful solution to the conflict,” said Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat. “We’re making every effort to fulfill our Road Map obligations, which include holding free, fair, and open elections. The Road Map even obliges Israel to facilitate our elections. But instead of joining us to build a peaceful, democratic future, Israel is choosing to silence us and turn its back on peace.”

Dr. Erekat then called upon Israel to “[c]hoose peace and let our people vote.”

Palestinian Minister of State in charge of the Jerusalem portfolio, Hind Khoury, said that yesterday’s closures were part of a larger strategy.

“With the Wall and settlement expansion, Israel is severing Palestinian Jerusalem from the West Bank. Now it wants to strip Palestinian Jerusalemites of their one remaining link to Palestine, their political voice.”

Minister Khoury emphasized that Jerusalem is the “economic engine, political center, and cultural heart of Palestine. There can be no viable Palestinian state, or a viable peace, for that matter, without East Jerusalem.”

East Jerusalem is occupied territory under international law; it is also an issue to be resolved in final status negotiations. Palestinians are entitled to vote in Palestinian elections under the Road Map, the Oslo Interim Agreements and international law.

East Jerusalemites most recently participated in the Palestinian presidential elections in January, 2005.

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