Palestinian electoral authorities identify voting centres in East Jerusalem but still waiting for Israeli approval

Palestinian electoral authorities identify voting centres in East Jerusalem but still waiting for Israeli approval
The Palestinian Central Election Committee has found six voting centres in occupied East Jerusalem, but the ability to use them are subject to Israeli approval.
2 min read
19 April, 2021
East Jerusalem is occupied by Israel [Getty]

Palestinian officials have located six voting centres in occupied East Jerusalem for the upcoming elections but are still waiting for approval from Israel - which occupies the sector of that city - for the sites.

The Palestinian Election Commission said on Sunday it has located six polling centres in East Jerusalem with a capacity of around 6,300 voters but is still waiting for Israeli approval.

"The polling centres are located in areas that are under the control of Israel, which means using them will need Israeli approval," the committee said in a statement.

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three zones: Area A, Area B and Area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the PA, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

Read also: Hamas slams Israel arrests of members ahead of elections

While East Jerusalem falls under Area C, some outskirts of the city are outside of the separation barrier, which means they are not under Israel's administrative control.

For those suburbs, the polling centres are ready for the elections, the committee said.

"The rest of the approximately 150,000 Jerusalemite voters who are eligible to vote are being urged to vote in the suburbs of Jerusalem, where the centres do not require Israeli approval," the statement said.

The committee noted that it has provided 11 polling stations in the suburbs of Jerusalem.

It added that there are now 60 Jerusalemite candidates from various electoral lists.

The commission also condemned Israel's arrests of candidates in the legislative elections, especially those in occupied East Jerusalem.

Prior to the 2006 Palestinian elections, Israeli officials tried to obstruct voting in East Jerusalem, which was illegally annexed by Israel in 1967 and still under its control.

Unofficial estimates indicate that around 340,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem.

Last week, Palestinian political factions unanimously agreed that no election will take place without East Jerusalem residents participating.

Palestinians will head to the polls for the first time in 15 years this summer. The legislative elections are set to take place on 22 May and a presidential vote on 31 July. 

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