Palestinian Authority officially called Tuesday on Palestinian residents of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem to boycott the upcoming municipal elections in the city, saying that a vote in the November 11 poll constituted de facto recognition of the Israeli occupation of the city, reported dpa.
"Jerusalem is an occupied city and therefore we will never accept Israeli jurisdiction over it," Rafik Husseini, bureau chief of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, warned in a news conference in Ramallah.
He said the participation of East Jerusalem's 245,000 Palestinian residents in the Israeli municipal poll "would give Israel a pretext to claim that Jerusalem has become the united capital of Israel. They will use the elections as a pretext to annex Jerusalem."
Israel captured East Jerusalem in the June 1967 war and annexed it shortly afterwards. Palestinians and the international community have not recognized Israeli jurisdiction over the occupied east part of the city and Palestinians insist it will be the capital of their future state.
"Elections in Jerusalem are a dangerous political issue because today President Abbas is negotiating the future of Jerusalem with Israel," Husseini said, referring to the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, of which the future of East Jerusalem is one of six core issues.
"We call on all (Palestinian) residents of Jerusalem not to take part in the elections because these elections are not acceptable and they are illegal," he said.
East Jerusalem Palestinians have so far boycotted Israeli municipal elections, claiming that since the city is occupied, Israel cannot apply its law over it and the occupying power has an obligation under international law to provide its residents with the services they need without its residents necessarily recognizing its jurisdiction over it.
This year, however, more Palestinians are talking about taking part in the Israeli municipal elections to upset total Jewish control over city services. They say that presence of Palestinians, who make up more than a third of the city's Arab and Jewish population combined, in the city council would guarantee better services and less neglect of the Arab neighbourhoods.