Jerusalem voters mount pressure on PA and Israel to allow free elections

Men sit next to pre-election posters for the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections in East Jerusalem January 15, 2006. (MAANnews/Inbal Rose)

Israel has not officially pronounced its position to refuse or to allow the Palestinians of Occupied East Jerusalem (OEJ), including ourselves, to participate in the upcoming Palestinian Legislative Council Elections in blatant violation of International law-specifically the right of self determination.

The right to self determination is guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights; both integral parts of the United Nations Agreements on Human Rights. Article 1 of these covenants reaffirms the right of all peoples to self determination, and obligates State signatories to promote the realization of that right. The very essence of such right is the right to vote. Israel is a State signatory to these covenants.

During the 1996 Palestinian Elections, a token number of Palestinians of OEJ were allowed by Israel to vote as a result of the impediments built into Oslo Interim Agreement Annex II Article VI, in utter contradiction with the recitals of the Agreement which supports the “holding of direct, free and general political elections for the Council and the (President) of the Executive Authority in order that the Palestinian people in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip may democratically elect accountable representatives”

The Interim Agreement states that “Palestinians of Jerusalem who live there may participate in the election process (5) and that the electorate shall be the Palestinian people of the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”

Statement of the Coalition

The Oslo Agreement does not address a second Palestinian Election and therefore such elections are governed by International Law - Specifically the right of Self Determination and Oslo Precedent. The Oslo Accords are silent as to the specifics or parameters of the current second round of elections. Consequently the precedent of the first election and the right of self determination weigh in favor of our full participation in direct, free and general elections.

We therefore demand that enough voting stations are procured for the Palestinian eligible voters in OEJ, who amount to 100,000, by expanding the capacity of the Post offices.

Since, Israel closed down registration stations in OEJ, and no voter’s registration lists were prepared, electors should vote using their Identification Cards. Voters should be able to vote in the proximity of their dwellings. Receptacles should be defined by both parties.

Israel should respect its own laws, which ratified International Agreements and refrain from arresting and fining Palestinian Election Candidates in Jerusalem while campaigning.

We demand that the Israeli Government respect its International commitments, and refrain from dealing with the Palestinian of OEJ via the Israeli police authorities only.

The Israeli Government should officially state that voting in Jerusalem does not affect the rights of the Palestinians in the City, and we request that the Post Offices cameras be shut off on Election day. We request the government of Israel to refrain from intimidating the Candidates during election campaigning, and from deploying police heavily on election day to intimidate voters.

More Information

  • The Jerusalem Committee of the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations (PNGO) - Jerusalem, Tel: 02 6562272. Fax: 02-6562271. Mobile: 054-4653160. Email:

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