Quartet urges Israel to allow J'lem vote [pg. 7]

By NATHAN GUTTMAN
December 29, 2005 01:38
2 minute read.

 
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The Quartet called on Israel and the Palestinians to find an agreed-upon solution that would enable Palestinians to vote in Jerusalem and urged the Palestinian leadership to make sure participants in the elections renounce terror, disarm and recognize the state of Israel. Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East David Welch is expected to visit the region again and to discuss the Jerusalem election modalities with both Israelis and Palestinians. The US has not yet taken a stand on the issue of east Jerusalem elections, though officials have spoken in favor of the 1996 model, in which Palestinians were allowed to vote at post offices in the city. The Quartet, which is made up of representatives of the US, EU, UN and Russia, was careful not to state the preferred solution for the Jerusalem elections issue, but made clear in a statement put out Wednesday that the international community expects Israel to allow the Palestinians living in Jerusalem to vote. "Both parties should work to put in place a mechanism to allow Palestinian residents in Jerusalem to exercise their legitimate democratic rights, in conformity with existing precedent," the Quartet statement said. The Quartet statement echoed an earlier decision from September 20 pointing out the "fundamental contradiction" between participating in the elections and engaging in armed activity. While the September statement did not set forth recommendations for making sure terrorists do not take part in the election process, the statement released Wednesday called on the Palestinian Authority to revise the Palestinian elections law in a way that would make clear that those who adhere to violence or pursue military activity should not be part of the democratic process. "In particular," the statement went on to say, "the Quartet expressed its view that a future Palestinian Authority Cabinet should include no member who has not committed to the principles of Israel's right to exist in peace and security and an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism." While stopping short from demanding a ban on Hamas taking part in the elections, the Quartet has taken a stronger stand on this issue, calling on the PA to issue a "code of conduct" that all those taking part in the elections would be asked to adhere to. In its statement, the Quartet welcomed the upcoming elections as a "positive step towards consolidation of Palestinian democracy and the goal of a two-state solution" and called on the PA to "take immediate steps" to prevent terror attacks and to dismantle terrorism infrastructure.

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