Israel arrests Palestinians at election meeting in Jerusalem

Middle East Monitor  /  April 19, 2021

Israeli occupation forces arrested three Palestinian candidates for holding a press conference at St George Hotel Jerusalem on the upcoming elections in occupied East Jerusalem.

The press conference was scheduled to discuss the right of Palestinians in the occupied city to participate in the upcoming elections and the mechanisms needed to do so.

Two of the candidates are on the list of the Fatah party led by President Mahmoud Abbas and the third is on the list of the Palestinian Democratic Union.

According to Wafa news agency, the Israeli occupation’s intelligence handed the management of St George Hotel Jerusalem a notice from the Israeli Minister of Public Security, which bans any Palestinian Authority-related activity there.

Palestinians have urged the European Union to exert pressure on Israel to allow residents of occupied East Jerusalem to vote. Israel has not responded. Israel claims the entirety of Jerusalem as its capital.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said these practices reflect 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.”

This comes after Israeli occupation forces banned a similar meeting earlier this month, which was supposed to be held at the Ambassador Hotel in occupied East Jerusalem, and arrested two candidates, including Naser Qaws, a Fatah member.

The two candidates were investigated by Israeli soldiers, who informed them that all election-related activities are banned in occupied East Jerusalem.

Palestinians are scheduled to vote in legislative elections on 22 May, presidential polls on 31 July, and National Council polls on 31 August, their first in over 15 years.