The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland called on Israel not to obstruct the right of Palestinians to vote in parliamentary elections. This request, however, must still be approved by the Israeli authorities.
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"All sides must provide for and protect the right of Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza to participate in credible and inclusive Palestinian elections, as well as to stand for elections, free from intimidation," Wennesland said during the monthly meeting of the UN Security Council on the Question of Palestine.
“I urge all parties to refrain from any arrest, detention, or interrogation based on freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, or freedom of association,” he stressed.
The diplomat also recalled that the expectations of holding elections in May are high given that the Palestinians have not held elections in the last 15 years.
“The holding of credible elections in Palestine is a crucial step towards renewing the legitimacy of national institutions and reestablishing Palestinian national unity. I encourage international support to these efforts,” Wennesland said.
Those elections should also pave the way for the union of Gaza and the West Bank into a single, legitimate authority, he added, warning that Israel continues to carry out violent acts against the Palestinians.
“Demolition and seizure of Palestinian property throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem continued... Allow me to reiterate my call upon Israel to cease this practice, in line with its obligations under international law, and to allow Palestinians to develop their communities," the diplomat stressed.