clearn.png
Friday May 7th, 2021 9:26PM

Abbas delays Palestinian elections; Hamas slams 'coup'

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

JERUSALEM (AP) — President Mahmoud Abbas announced early Friday that the first Palestinian elections in 15 years will be delayed, citing a dispute with Israel to call off a vote in which his fractured Fatah party was expected to suffer another embarrassing defeat to the Hamas militant group.

Hamas slammed the move as a “coup." But the indefinite postponement will be quietly welcomed by Israel and Western countries, which view the Islamic militant group as a terrorist organization and are concerned about its growing strength.

For ordinary Palestinians, the delay leaves a long-entrenched political leadership in place that has failed to advance their hopes for statehood, heal the bitter rift between Fatah and Hamas or lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip, and which is seen as increasingly corrupt and authoritarian. Presidential elections planned for July also appeared to be on hold.

Abbas insisted elections could not be held without the full participation of Palestinians in east Jerusalem. Israel has yet to say whether it would allow voting by mail there as in past elections and has enforced a ban on Palestinian Authority activities, including campaign events.

“Faced with this difficult situation, we decided to postpone the date of holding legislative elections until the participation of Jerusalem and its people in these elections is guaranteed,” Abbas said. "There will be no concession on Jerusalem and no concession on our people in Jerusalem exercising their democratic rights.”

The fate of east Jerusalem, home to holy sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, is one of the most sensitive issues in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But delaying the elections over Jerusalem could also be seen as a pretext, because only a small number of voters in the city would actually require Israel's permission. Abbas' rivals had suggested workarounds so as not to give Israel an effective veto over elections.

Abbas said the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly sought assurances from Israel and has called on the European Union to exert pressure, to no avail. He said it received a letter from Israel on Thursday saying it could not take a position on the elections because it does not yet have a government following its own elections last month — the fourth in two years.

Hamas had been expected to perform well in the May 22 parliamentary elections because of widening divisions within Fatah, which split into three rival lists. The militant group condemned the delay, saying the decision “doesn’t agree with the national consensus and popular support and is a coup.”

Prior to the announcement, Hamas had issued a statement saying the Palestinians should explore ways of “forcing the elections in Jerusalem without the permission of or coordination with the occupation.”

Israel has not said whether it will allow voting in east Jerusalem but has expressed concern about Hamas' growing strength. Israel and Western countries would likely boycott any Palestinian government that includes the group.

The day after President Joe Biden exhorted Americans to “prove that democracy still works" in an address to Congress, his State Department distanced itself from the Palestinian vote.

“The exercise of democratic elections is a matter for the Palestinian people and for the Palestinian leadership to determine," spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington. “We believe in an inclusive political process."

Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza, in the 1967 war, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and views the entire city as its capital, barring the Palestinian Authority from operating there. The Palestinians consider east Jerusalem their capital.

According to interim peace agreements reached in the 1990s — which were rejected by Hamas — some 6,000 Palestinians in east Jerusalem submit their ballots through Israeli post offices. The other 150,000 can vote with or without Israel's permission.

Fatah says the elections cannot be held without Israel giving express permission for east Jerusalem residents to vote. Its opponents have called for creative solutions, such as setting up ballot boxes in schools or religious sites.

But Abbas appeared to rule that out, joking that the Palestinians would not vote in “the Hungarian Embassy.”

The dispute has taken on greater import since the start of the holy month of Ramadan, as Muslim protesters have clashed with Israeli police over restrictions on gatherings.

The elections, and a presidential vote planned for July 31, offered a rare opportunity for the Palestinians to empower a new leadership and potentially chart a different course in their long, stalled struggle for independence.

The 85-year-old Abbas and his inner circle of Fatah figures, now in their 60s and 70s, have dominated the Palestinian Authority for nearly two decades and have made little effort to empower a new generation of leaders.

The last elections, held in 2006 with international support and Israeli cooperation, saw Hamas win a landslide victory after campaigning as a scrappy underdog untainted by corruption. That sparked an internal crisis culminating in Hamas' seizure of Gaza the following year, which confined Abbas' authority to parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Hamas' popularity has fallen in the years since, as conditions in Gaza have steadily deteriorated. But it has remained unified and disciplined even as Fatah has split into three rival parliamentary lists.

Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist and has fought three wars with it since seizing control of Gaza. It has also carried out scores of attacks over the past three decades that have killed hundreds of Israeli civilians.

___

Associated Press reporters Matthew Lee in Washington; Areej Hazboun in Jerusalem and Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News, AP World News - International incidents
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Abbas delays Palestinian elections; Hamas slams 'coup'
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced the postponement of the first elections planned in 15 years, citing a dispute with Israel over voting in east Jerusalem
7:05PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Free rides and beer: Incentives are added to vaccine drive
Free beer, pot and doughnuts
7:04PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Biden pitches tax plan in Georgia: Right that rich pay more
President Joe Biden has taken his pitch to Georgia for $4 trillion in spending to rebuild America’s aged infrastructure and vastly expand the government social safety net
7:03PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Abbas delays Palestinian elections, Hamas slams 'coup'
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced the postponement of the first elections planned in 15 years, citing a dispute with Israel over voting in east Jerusalem
6:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
Hamas rejects delay of Palestinian elections as 'coup'
The Islamic militant group Hamas has rejected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to cancel the first elections in 15 years, calling it a “coup” with no popular support
6:04PM ( 1 hour ago )
5 arrested in violent robbery of Lady Gaga's dogs
Los Angeles police say the woman who returned Lady Gaga’s stolen French bulldogs was among five people arrested in connection with the theft and shooting of the music superstar’s dog walker
6:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Free rides, beer and savings bonds: Vaccinators get creative
Free beer, pot and doughnuts
3:12PM ( 4 hours ago )
Ethics panel: Lawmaker accused of rape should be censured
A legislative ethics committee says an Idaho lawmaker who was accused of rape by a 19-year-old intern should be formally censured and suspended from office
2:40PM ( 4 hours ago )
For Dave Grohl, what drives musicians is more than van
Rocker and filmmaker Dave Grohl thought he was making a nostalgic documentary about the formative days of famous musicians
2:02PM ( 5 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Former Trump official Zinke eyes Montana's new US House seat
Former Montana congressman and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has filed election paperwork indicating he is interested in running for the second U.S. House seat awarded to the state
4:57PM ( 2 hours ago )
Biden's agenda: What can pass and what faces steep odds
President Joe Biden laid out a long list of policy priorities in his speech to Congress, and some are more politically plausible than others
4:55PM ( 2 hours ago )
Harris, Pelosi make history seated behind Biden at speech
Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are making history as the first two women to share the stage in Congress during a presidential address
9:17PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Elections
Moldova's president calls early election for July 11
Moldova’s Constitutional Court has canceled a state of emergency introduced to combat COVID-19 infections, enabling President Maia Sandu to dissolve parliament and call for an early election on July 11
3:05PM ( 1 day ago )
Russian minister: US-Russia ties worse than during Cold War
Russia’s top diplomat says his country's relations with the United States are even worse now than during Cold War times because of a lack of mutual respect
11:36AM ( 1 day ago )
Russian FM: US-Russia ties worse than during Cold War
Russia’s top diplomat says that the relations with the United States are now even worse than during the Cold War times because of a lack of mutual respect
7:18AM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
The Latest: Brazil's COVID-19 death toll tops 400,000
Brazil has become the second country to officially top 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, losing another 100,000 lives in just one month, as some health experts warn there may be gruesome days ahead when the Southern Hemisphere enters winter
6:04PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Study: About 1/3 in Mexico showed virus exposure
A study suggests that as many as one-third of Mexicans may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the end of last year
5:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: New Mexico to encourage people to return to work
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the state will soon adopt new policies encouraging residents receiving jobless benefits to go back to work
4:37PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
The Latest: Biden: Sending help to India during virus surge
President Joe Biden says the U.S. is sending “a whole series of help” to India to combat the coronavirus, including life-saving medicines
6:13PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: CDC: Vaccinated can go outside without mask
U.S. health officials say fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks outdoors unless they are in a big crowd of strangers
12:30PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Merck in deal with India on antiviral drug
Merck announced a deal with five makers of generic drugs in India to produce molnupiravir, an experimental antiviral similar to the COVID-19 medicine remdesivir but in a more convenient pill form
11:01AM ( 2 days ago )
AP World News - International incidents
Free rides and beer: Incentives are added to vaccine drive
Free beer, pot and doughnuts
7:04PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Biden pitches tax plan in Georgia: Right that rich pay more
President Joe Biden has taken his pitch to Georgia for $4 trillion in spending to rebuild America’s aged infrastructure and vastly expand the government social safety net
7:03PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Bradley has no stress and no bogeys to lead at Innisbrook
Keegan Bradley had no stress and no bogeys on the tough Copperhead course at Innisbrook
7:01PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: Cleveland steps up as newest host of NFL draft
Since the NFL took the draft on the road, most teams in the league have sought to host it
6:59PM ( 17 minutes ago )
'I'm still exhaling': Swing-state voters on Biden's 100 days
President Joe Biden has been in office for 100 days, and polls show most Americans are giving him positive marks so far
6:51PM ( 25 minutes ago )