Palestinian presidential candidate Mustafa al-Barghuthi has accused Israel of disrupting the upcoming Palestinian election due on 9 January. Mustafa al-Barghuthi, a prominent independent candidate, at a press conference on Wednesday in Ram Allah said Israel was not allowing candidates freedom of movement within the West Bank and between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“The Israeli occupation authorities have been barring me from travelling to the Gaza Strip. How can we conduct an effective and orderly election campaign if one is unable to meet one’s supporters?” he said. He revealed he had already contacted EU officials, including German Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer and Spanish Foreign Minister Megel Moratinos, to inform them of these obstacles.
“We give Israel 36 hours to lift these restrictions. If they don’t, we will start a series of public protests for the purpose of showing that Israel’s declared commitment to facilitate our election is not genuine.” Al-Barghuthi also indirectly accused unnamed Arab countries of interfering in the Palestinian elections. “There are certain sides that have already declared the winner even before the organisation of the election,” he said.
Al-Barghuthi pointed out that the international community and Israel were giving Fatah’s official candidate, Mahmud Abbas, preferential treatment, which he said constituted a tacit interference in the election process. “He can travel both inside and outside Palestine unfettered, but I can’t reach Gaza.”
Khalid Amayreh is a journalist based in the occupied West Bank. This article was originally published by aljazeera.net and reprinted on EI with permission.