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Abbas’s decision to postpone the election has sparked public discontent

Palestinian civil society organizations and several factions and figures warned over the weekend that a decision by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to postpone the general election would deepen divisions among Palestinians and lead to “chaos and military dictatorship.”

Abbas’s political opponents condemned the decision as a “major catastrophe” and called on the PA president to continue with the election.

Ignoring public discontent, Abbas issued a decree Friday postponing the election. In his decree, Abbas claims that Israel “prevented the preparations for the elections and held them in occupied Jerusalem.”


The decree came hours after it announced a postponement of the election following a meeting in Ramallah of leaders of various Palestinian factions.

Abbas said international efforts to put pressure on Israel to allow the elections in Jerusalem had failed. He said the Palestinians were ready to hold elections as soon as Israel agreed to their request for a vote in Jerusalem.

Civil society organizations called for “an atmosphere of dialogue, respect for civil liberties and the formation of a Palestinian government for national unity”.

In a statement, the organizations said the decision to postpone the election posed a major risk.

“If held, the election could be an important step towards restoring national unity, which has deteriorated significantly due to the power struggle between Abbas’s Fabah faction and Hamas,” the statement said. “The decision to postpone the election could continue the separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

The organizations called on the PA government to begin preparations for elections within six months.

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights has expressed “deep regret” at the postponement of the elections, warning that such a move would jeopardize the stability of the Palestinian political system, civil peace, national unity and civil liberties.

The ICHR called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to allow the elections to take place in Jerusalem. He also called on Abbas to set new dates for the parliamentary and presidential elections, which were scheduled for May 22nd and July 31st, respectively.

Hamas has rejected Abbas’s decision, calling it a “coup” against agreements reached with Fatah and other factions over the past few months.

Hamas leader Ismail Hanie described Abbas’s decision as “unfortunate”, saying it had put the Palestinian arena in a “semi-vacuum”.

“Postponing the elections means canceling them and confiscating the political rights of the Palestinians,” Chania said. “There is no disagreement about the need to hold elections in Jerusalem. The disagreement is over making the Palestinian solution conditional on the decision of the Israeli occupation. “

A number of Hamas officials have accused Abbas of using the Jerusalem issue as an excuse to postpone the election and “preventing Palestinians from exercising their constitutional right.”

They said Abbas made the decision because of growing tensions in Fatah, especially after faction veterans, including Nasser al-Kidwa and Marwan Barghouti, decided to run on a separate list.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of the Palestine from the PLO said Abbas’s decision “calls into question the seriousness of the Palestinian leadership to end the division [between the West Bank and Gaza Strip] and restoring national unity. “

The PFLP also warned that the decision would deepen the crisis in the Palestinian arena.

Professor Sari Nuseibe, a prominent Palestinian academic and former PLO representative in Jerusalem, has called on Abbas to resign.

“I think Abbas should resign,” said Nuseibe, who is running on Al-Mustaqbal’s list, which is linked to Fatah operative Mohamed Dahlan. “The suspension of the election process is a dangerous decision that opens the door to civil disobedience to the Palestinian Authority.”

Hanan Ashrawi, who recently resigned from the PLO Executive Committee, commented on Twitter: “The excitement, enthusiasm and energy with which the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories welcome the prospect of legislative, presidential and [PLO] The election of the Palestinian National Council immediately turned into deep disappointment and anger. Jerusalem is the essence of the challenge, not a pretext for undermining democracy! “

Defending Abbas’s move, PA President’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeine said the decision to postpone the election “aims to preserve the supreme national interests, topped by the issue of occupied Jerusalem.”

In an interview with the PA Voice of Palestine, he added that “holding elections without Jerusalem means implementing [former US President Donald Trump’s] A deal of the century. “

According to Abu Rudaine, the PA leadership tried in every way to hold the elections in Jerusalem, but “received a negative response from Israel.”

He dismissed widespread criticism from many Palestinians as part of a “disinformation campaign by suspicious parties to undermine the Palestinian national solution.”

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