Palestinian Authority plans to call off first elections in 15 years

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Egyptian officials say the Palestinian Authority plans to call off its first elections in 15 years, citing Israel’s refusal to allow voting in east Jerusalem, Israel Hayom reported.

An Egyptian diplomat and an intelligence official told the newspaper that they had been briefed on the decision, which will be announced on Thursday at a meeting of Palestinian factions.

They said Egypt is in talks with the occupation state of ‘Israel’ to reach a compromise to allow the vote but those efforts have so far failed.

The two spoke late Monday on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door talks, the newspaper said.

The intelligence official said Hamas wants the elections to go ahead, but that no faction wants to proceed without guarantees from the international community that voting will be held in East Jerusalem.

The official said the factions are discussing the formation of a unity government instead that would include Hamas.

Israeli Army Radio also reported that the PA had informed representatives of the international community, Jordan, and Egypt about the decision. It is believed that the Palestinian leadership will convene in Ramallah on Thursday.

According to PA officials, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been invited to attend the meeting where Abbas is set to make the cancellation announcement.

However, Al-Quds newspaper reported sources as saying that the PA had decided to cancel the elections “under heavy American and Arab pressure.”

Washington and regional countries apparently “believe that the results of the elections will not favour Fatah.”

The same sources added that the US had informed the PA that it would introduce several measures prior to any elections, including the resumption to aid to UNRWA, rehabilitating the Palestinian healthcare system, reopening the US Consulate in occupied Jerusalem, and reopening the PLO’s office in Washington.

“The US administration believes that these measures will help the moderate Palestinians get better results in the elections,” it was claimed.

Israeli sources also reported that Abbas had commissioned a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee, Hussein Al-Sheikh, to persuade Qatar to ask for Hamas’s agreement on the election cancellation under the pretext of “inappropriate” conditions in the region.

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