May 4, 2021
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the postponement of the long-awaited legislative elections on April 29, citing the marginalization of voters in East Jerusalem by the Israeli government. In his speech announcing the delay, Abbas stated, “We decided to postpone the legislative elections until guaranteeing that Jerusalem and its people take part”.
Prior to the postponement, the United Nations issued a call to the Israeli government to allow eligible Palestinian voters in the city to vote in the historic election. Since the 1967 war, Israel has occupied East Jerusalem and considered the entire city its capital, preventing any Palestinian voting activity or political claims in the area. During this election cycle, numerous Palestinian candidates who have attempted to spread their campaigns in the city have been detained by Israeli police forces.
Palestinians in East Jerusalem deserve to have their voices heard and to be represented by their elected officials. These suppression tactics are but another episode in Israel’s campaign of disenfranchisement throughout occupied Palestine. Eligible voters should be afforded their rights to participate in the elections without external crackdown, especially during these difficult times.