Abbas Against Vote Without Jerusalem in It

From Times Wire Services

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that he favored postponing the Jan. 25 parliamentary elections if Israel barred Jerusalem’s Palestinians from the vote, which already has been imperiled by violence and party infighting.

Abbas had resisted pressure to put off the elections. Senior members of his Fatah party had urged him to delay the balloting, fearing the Islamic group Hamas would win big.

“We all agree that Jerusalem should be included in the elections,” Abbas said in Doha, Qatar, on the Al Jazeera satellite TV channel. “If it is not included, all the factions agree there should be no elections.”


But a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip denied agreeing to a delay. The militant group has been buoyed by disarray in Fatah and has said it is up to Abbas to make sure Jerusalem residents can vote. Israel hasn’t said whether it will let Jerusalem’s 200,000 Palestinians vote by absentee ballot.

Meanwhile, Israel killed two Islamic Jihad members in a missile strike on a car Monday night in a part of northern Gaza where Israel has banned Palestinians. A third occupant of the car was wounded along with two bystanders, hospital officials said.