Banning Election-Related Activities in Jerusalem Reflects Israel’s Clear Political Decision to Impede Participation of Jerusalem in Elections
Date: 10 April 2021
Time: 12:30 GMT
PCHR Calls Upon the International Community to Intervene to Guarantee the Right of Palestinians in Jerusalem to participate in the Palestinian elections
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) banned a meeting organized by civil society organizations to discuss the Palestinian General elections at the Ambassador Hotel in al-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. This was preceded by IOF’s arrest of a candidate on the “Jerusalem is Our Destination” electoral list in Bethlehem after raiding and searching his house. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns such practices, which is part of the Israeli authorities’ attempts to impede holding the Palestinian general elections. Furthermore, it reflects a clear political decision to prevent Jerusalem’s participation in the elections and deny the Palestinians in Jerusalem their right to vote or run for the elections.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 11:00, on Tuesday, 06 April 2021, IOF imposed a security cordon and established checkpoints at the entrances to al-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and banning civilians from reaching the Ambassador Hotel, ahead of holding the meeting. The Civil society organizations invited for this meeting titled “International Law Guarantees the right of Palestinians in East Jerusalem to vote”. Shortly before the meeting, IOF stopped and searched the vehicles of the candidates on Fatah electoral list identified as Naser Mohammed Qaws, Ghada Mohammed Abu Rabea’, Awad al-Salayma and ‘Ahed al-Rashq, and handed them summonses to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in al-Maskobiya investigation center in West Jerusalem, under the pretext of organizing banned activities in Jerusalem. Additionally, IOF arrested the Secretary-General of Fatah Movement in Jerusalem, Adel Abu Zneid, and the Ambassador Hotel’s manager, Sami Abu Dayyah.
In the same context, at approximately 03:00 on the same day, IOF moved into Hindaza area in Bethlehem. They raided and searched Hasan Mohammed Wardian’s (62) house, and arrested him. It should be noted that Wardian is one of the candidates on the Hamas-affiliated list “Jerusalem is Our Destination”.
These practices are part of the Israeli occupation’s attempts to obstruct the Palestinian elections, especially in Jerusalem, and the situation is expected to be worse as the elections approach. Such practices contradict Israel’s international obligations, particularly Article (25) of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which ensures the right of each citizen to choose their representatives, and Article (21) of the same Covenant which guarantees the right of peaceful assembly.
Jerusalem’s participation in the elections is not an issue of number or geography, but it would reflect a significant political connotation regarding the Palestinian national rights and the right of Palestinians in Jerusalem in order to face “the Deal of the Century”, the efforts to make a Jewish majority and create new facts and the crime of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians in the occupied City. It should be noted that Palestinians in Jerusalem took part in previous elections held in 1996, 2005, and 2006.
PCHR Confirms that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory, and all measures taken by the Israeli authorities following the occupation of the city in 1967 do not change its legal status as an occupied territory according to the international law and the Security Council Resolutions.
In light of the above, PCHR calls upon the international community to hold its responsibility and take serious action in order to hold the elections in Jerusalem in a way that guarantees the right of the Palestinians living in Jerusalem to vote or run for the elections. PCHR also calls upon the international community to practice pressure on the Israeli occupation and stop its interference in the upcoming Palestinian elections.