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2021.04.21 國際新聞導讀-美伊維也納核武協議已達七成、伊朗人破壞核武設施遭通緝、以色列人不必再戴口罩、巴勒斯坦大選恐被取消

外交官的國際新聞導覽及中東中亞的歷史故事 Diplomat's daily news review and history research on Middle East and Central Asia
2021-04-20
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2021.04.21 國際新聞導讀-美伊維也納核武協議已達七成、伊朗人破壞核武設施遭通緝、以色列人不必再戴口罩、巴勒斯坦大選恐被取消 伊朗高級官員:納坦茲的電力已完全恢復,濃縮工作得到了更新 該國原子能機構負責人阿里·阿克巴·薩利希(Ali Akbar Salehi)聲稱,爆炸被指責為以色列後,關鍵核場所的濃縮從未停止 由TOI工作人員今天晚上10:42 0 檔案:伊朗原子能組織負責人阿里·阿克巴爾·薩利西(Ali Akbar Salehi)在國際原子能機構於2019年9月16日在奧地利維也納召開的國際原子能機構大會開幕式上致辭。 該國原子能機構負責人周二表示,本月早些時候在伊朗納坦茲(Natanz)核設施恢復供電後,鈾濃縮活動得以恢復。 IRNA官方通訊社援引伊朗原子能組織負責人Ali Akbar Salehi的話說:“事故中受損的電纜已被迅速更換,並且……現在已經連接了Natanz濃縮設施的主要電源。到網格。” 薩利希一個議會委員會會議期間告訴國會議員說:“多虧了及時採取的措施,富集在納坦茲從來沒有停止過,即使在主電源線被切斷,”根據該報告。 據報導,他還說,包括以色列在內的伊朗敵人曾多次試圖破壞伊朗的核計劃,但聲稱所有陰謀都被挫敗了。 伊朗官員指責以色列4月11日對納坦茲的襲擊。 該報告未包括薩利希所說的恢復活動的任何圖像。 伊朗總統哈桑·魯哈尼(Hassan Rouhani)身旁有新的離心機,並在2021年4月10日參觀伊朗在德黑蘭舉行的伊朗新核成就展覽會時聽取了伊朗原子能組織負責人阿里·阿克巴爾·薩利(Ali Akbar Salehi)的講話。法新社) 他發表上述評論之際,《紐約時報》(New York Times)報導稱,由於最近爆炸案實施的安全措施增多,伊朗在納坦茲(Natanz)的核濃縮計劃已經放緩。 據說爆炸對納坦茲工廠造成了相當大的損害,包括其各種富鈾離心機。 針對這次襲擊,伊朗表示,它開始在該地點濃縮鈾,使鈾純度達到60%,這是有史以​​來的最高水平,距離武器級僅一步之遙。聯合國原子能機構證實了這種濃縮作用,並說這是在納坦茲的地上設施中進行的。 儘管據報導受到損害,伊朗國家電視臺本週早些時候播放了據稱是納坦茲常規行動的錄像。現場包括對現場一位不願透露姓名的工人的簡短採訪,他說該工作人員全天候工作以恢復鈾濃縮。 以色列和美國媒體報導說,一枚150公斤重的炸彈炸毀了納坦茲的主電源和備用電源,造成損壞,使濃縮過程推遲了幾個月。 這張圖片是2021年4月17日由伊斯蘭共和國伊朗廣播公司(IRIB),國營電視台播放的視頻拍攝的,各式各樣的離心機都排在伊朗納坦茲鈾濃縮設施的大廳裡。(通過AP的IRIB,文件) 伊朗高級官員上週二表示,爆炸摧毀或損壞了用於濃縮鈾的數千台離心機。伊朗議會研究中心的專線負責人Alireza Zakani在國家電視台的一次採訪中提到“數千台離心機被損毀”。但是,沒有其他官員提供該數字,也沒有發布任何後果的圖像。 爆炸最初僅被描述為向地上車間和地下濃縮大廳供電的電網停電,但伊朗官員後來開始稱其為襲擊。 上週一,一名伊朗官員承認,爆炸炸毀了該廠的主要電力系統及其後備電源。伊朗議會能源委員會負責人費雷敦·阿巴斯·達瓦尼(Fereydoon Abbasi Davani)對伊朗國家電視台說:“從技術角度來看,敵人的計劃相當漂亮。” “他們考慮了這一點,並聘請了他們的專家併計劃了爆炸,以免破壞中央電源和應急電源線。” 《紐約時報》報導說,爆炸是由一枚炸彈造成的,該炸彈被走私到工廠中,然後被遠程引爆。該報告援引了一位未具名的情報官員的名字,但沒有說明他們是美國人還是以色列人。該官員還指出,爆炸摧毀了納坦茲的主要電氣系統及其後備系統。 Top Iran official: Power fully restored at Natanz, enrichment renewed Ali Akbar Salehi, head of country’s atomic agency, claims enrichment at key nuclear site never stopped following blast blamed on Israel By TOI STAFFToday, 10:42 pm 0 File: The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi delivers his speech at the opening of the general conference of the IAEA in Vienna, Austria, September 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) Power has been restored in Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility and uranium enrichment activities there have been renewed after a blast at the site earlier this month, the head of the country’s atomic agency said Tuesday. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was cited by the official IRNA news agency as saying that “the cables damaged in the accident were speedily replaced and… the main power supply to the Natanz enrichment facility [is] now connected to the grid.” Salehi told lawmakers during a parliamentary committee meeting that “thanks to the timely measures taken, enrichment in Natanz never stopped, even when the main power cable was cut,” according to the report. He also reportedly said that Iran’s enemies, among them Israel, have repeatedly attempted to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, but claimed all the plots were foiled. Iranian officials have blamed Israel for the April 11 attack at Natanz. The report did not include any images of the enrichment activities that Salehi said had resumed. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, right, is shown new centrifuges and listens to head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, while visiting an exhibition of Iran’s new nuclear achievements in Tehran, Iran, April 10, 2021. (Iranian Presidency Office via AFP) His comments came as a New York Times report said Iran’s nuclear enrichment program at Natanz has slowed down due to increased security measures implemented following the recent blast. The explosion is said to have caused considerable damage to the Natanz plant, including its various uranium-enriching centrifuges. In response to the attack, Iran said it began enriching a small amount of uranium up to 60 percent purity at the site — its highest level ever, and a short step from weapons-grade. The UN atomic agency confirmed the enrichment, saying it was being done in an above-ground facility at Natanz. Despite the reported damage, Iranian state TV aired footage earlier this week from what it said were regular operations at Natanz. The spot included a short interview with an unnamed worker at the site who said that the staff was working around the clock to resume uranium enrichment. Israeli and American media have reported that a 150-kilogram bomb took out Natanz’s main and backup power supplies and caused damage setting back the enrichment process by months. In this image made from April 17, 2021 video released by the Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, various centrifuge machines line a hall at the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility, Iran. (IRIB via AP, File) A senior Iranian official said last Tuesday that the blast destroyed or damaged thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Alireza Zakani, the hardline head of the Iranian parliament’s research center, referred to “several thousand centrifuges damaged and destroyed” in a state TV interview. However, no other official has offered that figure and no images of the aftermath have been released. The blast was initially described only as a blackout in the electrical grid feeding aboveground workshops and underground enrichment halls, but Iranian officials later began calling it an attack. Last Monday, an Iranian official acknowledged that the blast took out the plant’s main electrical power system and its backup. “From a technical standpoint, the enemy’s plan was rather beautiful,” Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, the head of the Iranian parliament’s energy committee, told Iranian state television. “They thought about this and used their experts and planned the explosion so both the central power and the emergency power cable would be damaged.” The New York Times reported that the blast was caused by a bomb that was smuggled into the plant and then detonated remotely. The report cited an unnamed intelligence official, without specifying whether they were American or Israeli. The official also noted that the blast took out Natanz’s primary electrical system as well as its backup. A passport-style photo published by Iranian state television shows Reza Karimi, 43, whom Tehran says was behind the sabotage at Natanz on April 11 that it has blamed on Israel (video screenshot) On Saturday, Iran state television named 43-year-old Reza Karimi as a suspect in last week’s attack, saying he had since fled the country. The report showed a passport-style photograph of a man it identified as Karimi, saying he was born in the nearby city of Kashan, Iran. The Iranian foreign ministry accused Israel of an act of “nuclear terrorism” and vowed revenge. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement, but public radio reports said it was a sabotage operation by the Mossad spy agency, citing unnamed intelligence sources. The New York Times, quoting unnamed US and Israeli intelligence officials, also said there had been “an Israeli role” in the attack. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, last week indirectly accused Israel of attempting to scuttle talks underway in Vienna aimed at reviving a landmark nuclear agreement. The talks are focused on bringing the US back into the accord after former US president Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, and to bring Iran back into compliance with key nuclear commitments it suspended in response to the sanctions. 伊朗國家電視台發布的一張護照風格照片顯示了現年43歲的Reza Karimi,德黑蘭說,這是4月11日在納坦茲(Natanz)遭到破壞的幕後原因,該事件被歸咎於以色列(視頻截圖) 上週六,伊朗國家電視台將43歲的Reza Karimi列為上週襲擊事件的嫌疑人,稱他此後逃離了該國。該報告顯示了一張護照樣式的照片,該照片被識別為卡里米(Karimi),稱他出生在附近的伊朗喀山市。 伊朗外交部指責以色列“核恐怖主義”行徑,並誓言要報仇。 以色列既未證實也未否認參與其中,但公共廣播報導稱這是摩薩德間諜機構的破壞活動,理由是情報人員不願透露姓名。《紐約時報》引述美國和以色列情報官員的名字,還說這次襲擊有“以色列的作用”。 伊朗外交部發言人賽義德·哈迪布扎德(Saeed Khatibzadeh)上週間接指責以色列試圖破壞在維也納進行的旨在恢復具有里程碑意義的核協議的會談。 會談的重點是在美國前總統唐納德·特朗普於2018年撤出美國並對德黑蘭實施制裁之後使美國重返協定,並使伊朗恢復遵守為響應制裁而中止的關鍵核承諾。 從周日開始,以色列人不再需要戴口罩,因為COVID退潮 獨立日即將結束時,衛生部長宣布了抗擊這一流行病的最新里程碑,這給該國帶來了另一個值得慶祝的理由 由TOI工作人員2021年4月15日,下午8:18 4 2021年3月17日,戴著口罩的人在耶路撒冷Mahane Yehuda市場購物(Olivier Fitoussi / Flash90) 衛生部長尤利·埃德斯坦(Yuli Edelstein)週四宣布,從周日開始,不再要求以色列人在外面戴著口罩,這進一步表明以色列正在擊敗COVID-19大流行。 在該國獨立日慶祝活動即將結束時的一份聲明中,愛德斯坦說,他已在與部委專業人士協商後,指示部委總幹事謝齊·利維簽署一項法令,從星期日起終止衛生條例。 在封閉的公共場所仍然需要口罩。 “這些口罩旨在保護我們免受冠狀病毒的侵害,”埃德爾斯坦說。“在專業人員認為開放空間不再需要此功能之後,我決定將其取下。” 他讚揚以色列成功的疫苗接種運動,但呼籲內部保持警惕。 幾個星期以來,衛生專業人員一直在說外面的口罩授權可能很快就會結束,但實際上達到這一里程碑對於許多以色列人來說無疑是一個動容的時刻,在過去的一年中,他們習慣了在外出時只看到對方的眼睛在街上。 戴著口罩的耶路撒冷人於2021年2月7日在市中心行走,以色列因COVID-19大流行而退出第三次封鎖。(Olivier Fitoussi / Flash90) 本月初,利維仍持懷疑態度,並告誡不要取消該任務,他辯稱在戶外使用口罩可有效抑制COVID-19的擴散。 最近幾週的媒體報導表明,至少已指示警察停止執行室外口罩指令,而重點是針對違反隔離規則的人員。 在經歷了第三次嚴重的大流行之後,以色列的狀況在最近幾個月迅速改善,因為它進行了世界上最快的人均疫苗接種運動。結果表明,超過一半的人口完全接種了該病毒,每天的新病例和嚴重病例下降到長個月以來的最低水平。 隨著案件數量的減少,以色列通過開設業務,活動場所和其他活動大大降低了對冠狀病毒的限制。 該流行病的一位高級專家週日表示,以色列可能已經達到“某種畜群豁免權”,並可以放心地放鬆進一步的限制。魏茨曼科學研究所的計算生物學家伊蘭·西格爾(Eran Segal)對12頻道說,大多數以色列人都接受了免疫接種,即使是經濟大片的重新開放以及普im節和逾越節假期期間的聚會也沒有導致案件數量激增。 2021年2月4日,一名年輕的以色列人在霍隆的Clalit疫苗接種中心接受了COVID-19疫苗注射(Chen Leopold / Flash90) 同樣在本週,內閣部長投票決定從周日開始全面重新開放以色列學校,從而結束了某些年級仍要以較小班級學習的要求。剩下的只有5-9年級的孩子需要在與社交保持距離開的“膠囊”或豆莢裡學習。 根據衛生部周四晚間公佈的最新數據,週三記錄了196例新的冠狀病毒病例,自午夜以來又記錄了91例,自大流行開始以來共確診836,706例感染。 死亡人數為6,314。 有2945例活動病例,包括209名病情嚴重的患者,其中126例使用呼吸機。 在星期三進行的55,470項測試中,有0.4%返回陽性。 該部還表示,有5338967名以色列人接受了至少一劑冠狀病毒疫苗的注射,4961238名以色列人已註射了兩槍。 Israelis no longer required to wear masks outside starting Sunday, as COVID ebbs As Independence Day comes to an end, health minister’s announcement of latest milestone in beating back the pandemic gives country another cause to celebrate By TOI STAFF15 April 2021, 8:18 pm 4 People wearing face masks shop at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on March 17, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90) In a further sign that Israel is beating back the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein declared Thursday that starting on Sunday, Israelis will no longer be required to wear masks while outside. In a statement as the country’s Independence Day celebrations were coming to an end, Edelstein said he had instructed ministry director-general Chezy Levy to sign a decree ending the health regulation as of Sunday, after consulting with ministry professionals Masks will still be required in closed public spaces. “The masks are intended to protect us from the coronavirus,” Edelstein said. “After professionals decided this was no longer required in open spaces, I decided to enable taking them off.” He credited Israel’s successful vaccination campaign but called for ongoing vigilance inside. Health professionals had for weeks been saying the mask mandate outside would likely end soon, but actually reaching the milestone will doubtless be a moving moment for many Israelis, who over the past year have become accustomed to seeing little more than each others’ eyes while out on the streets. Jerusalemites wearing face masks walk in the city center on February 07, 2021, as Israel exits a 3rd lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90) Earlier this month, Levy was still skeptical and cautioned against lifting the mandate, arguing the use of masks outdoors was effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19. Media reports in recent weeks indicated that police had at any rate been instructed to stop enforcing the outdoor mask mandate, with the focus instead on enforcement against those who violate quarantine rules. After suffering a severe third wave of the pandemic, Israel’s situation has rapidly improved in recent months as it has carried out the world’s fastest per capita vaccination drive. Over half of the population is fully inoculated against the virus, and the results have shown, with daily new cases and serious cases dropping to levels not seen in long months. As the caseload has dropped, Israel has significantly rolled back coronavirus restrictions by opening businesses, event venues and other activities. A top expert on the pandemic said on Sunday that Israel may have reached “a sort of herd immunity” and could safely ease further restrictions. Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, told Channel 12 that with most Israelis immunized, even the reopening of swaths of the economy and gatherings over the Purim and Passover holidays had not contributed to a spike in cases. A young Israeli receives a COVID-19 vaccine injection, at a Clalit vaccination center in Holon, February 4, 2021. (Chen Leopold/Flash90) Also this week cabinet ministers voted to fully reopen Israeli schools starting Sunday, ending the requirement that some grades still learn in smaller class sizes. Children in grades 5-9 had been the only remaining students required to study in socially distanced “capsules,” or pods. According to the latest Health Ministry figures released Thursday evening, 196 new coronavirus cases were recorded Wednesday and another 91 since midnight, with 836,706 total infections confirmed since the pandemic began. The death toll stood at 6,314. There were 2,945 active cases, including 209 patients in serious condition, 126 of whom were on ventilators. Of the 55,470 tests performed Wednesday, 0.4% came back positive. The ministry also said 5,338,967 Israelis have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose and 4,961,238 have received two shots. 巴勒斯坦人威脅要推遲耶路撒冷行的選舉 一些巴勒斯坦人認為,阿巴斯正在尋找藉口取消選舉,因為他的法塔赫派系分裂,該派系在三個對立陣營下運轉。 由KHALED ABU TOAMEH 2021年4月20日21:36 巴勒斯坦總統阿巴斯(Mahmoud Abbas)於2020年9月3日在約旦河西岸拉馬拉(Ramalah)參加與巴勒斯坦各派有關虛擬的會晤,討論以色列與阿拉伯聯合酋長國實現關係正常化的交易。 (照片來源:ALAA BADARNEH / POOL VIA REUTERS) 巴勒斯坦權力機構主席馬哈茂德·阿巴斯(Mahmoud Abbas)高級顧問納比爾·沙阿特(Nabil Sha'ath)宣布,由於以色列未能回應巴勒斯坦人要求在耶路撒冷舉行投票的請求,巴勒斯坦權力機構“很有可能”推遲巴勒斯坦大選。 沙阿斯對巴勒斯坦新聞網站al-Jadeed al-Falastini表示,如果以色列不回應這一要求,“選舉將被推遲。” 沙阿斯是巴勒斯坦權力機構的第一位高級官員,在巴勒斯坦和阿拉伯各媒體中公開證實有關巴勒斯坦領導人正在考慮推遲甚至取消選舉的報導。 本週早些時候,法塔赫一位官員告訴《耶路撒冷郵報》,他不排除由於耶路撒冷投票的爭議而推遲或取消選舉的可能性。 一些巴勒斯坦人認為,阿巴斯正在尋找藉口取消選舉,因為他的法塔赫派系分裂,該派系在三個對立陣營下運轉。 這位官員說,巴勒斯坦領導人將在4月30日之前作出最後決定,屆時議會選舉的選舉競選期將開始。 巴勒斯坦權力機構中央選舉委員會說,如果巴勒斯坦領導人沒有在競選期間開始之前或在合理的時間內收到以色列的回應,它準備“根據政治領導和磋商的方向採取措施。巴勒斯坦各派”。 該委員會說,它已經在耶路撒冷郊區(位於耶路撒冷市政區邊界以外)提供了11個投票中心,以使15萬名持有以色列發行的身份證的合格選民無需事先註冊即可投票。 沙思強調說:“沒有耶路撒冷,我們將不會舉行選舉,因為這將鞏固以色列將我們與耶路撒冷分開的願望。” 他指出,阿巴斯已將巴勒斯坦權力機構外交大臣里亞德·馬爾基派往一些歐洲聯盟國家,作為動員國際支持以壓迫以色列允許巴勒斯坦人在耶路撒冷舉行選舉的努力的一部分。 沙阿斯之所以宣布這一消息,是因為巴勒斯坦人準備在16年內舉行巴勒斯坦議會,即巴勒斯坦立法委員會的第一次選舉。議會選舉定於5月22日舉行,隨後總統選舉將於7月31日舉行。 前巴勒斯坦權力機構外交大臣沙阿斯說:“馬爾基現在在歐洲以最高水平開展工作,向以色列施加壓力。” “此外,我們正在繼續與各個國際政黨接觸,向以色列施壓,要求其允許在耶路撒冷舉行選舉。” 他補充說,巴勒斯坦權力機構仍然沒有寄希望於國際壓力將迫使以色列允許耶路撒冷阿拉伯人進行投票並參加選舉。 星期一,馬爾基向比利時外交大臣索菲·威爾梅斯和歐盟高級代表約瑟夫·博雷爾簡要介紹了有關選舉的最新動態。馬爾基(Malki)指責以色列擺出“障礙”以阻礙選舉。他說,以色列政府尚未對巴勒斯坦領導人發出的有關組織耶路撒冷大選的信息作出回應。 巴勒斯坦權力機構耶路撒冷事務部長法迪·希米(Fadi Al-Hidmi)週二會見了歐洲聯盟駐西岸代表和加沙地帶的斯文·庫恩·馮·伯格斯多夫(SvenKühnvon Burgsdorff),並與他討論了防止以色列“阻撓”巴勒斯坦權力機構耶路撒冷大選的方法瓦法通訊社報導。 Hidmi在會議上強調,耶路撒冷阿拉伯人有權根據巴解組織和以色列之間簽署的國際法和協定參加選舉。 他指出,耶路撒冷阿拉伯人曾參加過1996年,2005年和2006年的巴勒斯坦議會和總統選舉。當時,他們在位於城市不同地區的六個以色列郵局進行了投票。 希德米補充說,國際社會不應允許以色列政府利用巴勒斯坦人在耶路撒冷的投票權,“以實現其雄心勃勃的野心,而這一野心遭到以歐洲聯盟為首的國際社會的一致拒絕。” 他敦促國際社會向以色列政府施加更大的壓力,要求其承諾執行其就耶路撒冷投票所簽署的協議。 他還抱怨說,耶路撒冷警察阻止東耶路撒冷居民舉行聚會來討論即將舉行的選舉,並逮捕了一些候選人。 Hidmi說:“我們對國際社會的要求只是幫助我們通過選擇代表來行使表達意見的權利。” 在周一晚上,阿巴斯在巴勒斯坦統治派別最高決策機構法塔赫中央委員會的一次會議上說,他完全致力於按時在“包括東耶路撒冷在內的所有巴勒斯坦領土上”舉行選舉。 阿巴斯說,巴勒斯坦領導人正在與幾個國家,特別是美國和歐洲聯盟保持聯繫,以向以色列政府施加壓力,以遵守已簽署的有關耶路撒冷選舉進程的協議。 他補充說:“到目前為止,我們還沒有收到以色列的答复。”他指的是允許耶路撒冷阿拉伯人投票並提出其候選人資格的請求。 會後,委員會發表聲明,呼籲美國,歐盟,俄羅斯和中國對以色列施加壓力,要求其允許在耶路撒冷舉行選舉。 聲明說:“巴勒斯坦人民不會接受佔領區對我們人民在耶路撒冷參加選舉的任何否決權。” “耶路撒冷及其人民是一條不受傷害或篡改的紅線。” Palestinians threaten to delay elections over Jerusalem row Some Palestinians believe that Abbas is looking for an excuse to cancel the elections because of the split in his Fatah faction, which is running under three rival lists. By KHALED ABU TOAMEH APRIL 20, 2021 21:36 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a virtual meeting with Palestinian factions over Israel and the United Arab Emirates' deal to normalize ties, in Ramallah in the West Bank September 3, 2020. (photo credit: ALAA BADARNEH/POOL VIA REUTERS) Advertisement The Palestinian Authority is “very likely” to postpone the Palestinian elections in wake of Israel’s failure to respond to the Palestinians’ request to hold the vote in Jerusalem, Nabil Sha’ath, a senior adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Tuesday. Sha’ath told the Palestinian news website al-Jadeed al-Falastini that if Israel does not reply to the request, “the elections will be postponed.” Sha’ath is the first senior PA official to publicly confirm reports in various Palestinian and Arab media outlets that the Palestinian leadership is considering delaying or even canceling the elections. Earlier this week, a Fatah official told The Jerusalem Post that he does not rule out the possibility that the elections would be delayed or called off because of the controversy over the vote in Jerusalem. Some Palestinians believe that Abbas is looking for an excuse to cancel the elections because of the split in his Fatah faction, which is running under three rival lists. The official said that a final decision will be taken by the Palestinian leadership before April 30, when the election campaign period for the parliamentary election is due to begin. The PA Central Elections Commission said that if the Palestinian leadership does not receive a response from Israel before the commencement of the election campaign period or within a reasonable time frame, it is prepared “to take measures based on the direction of the political leadership and consultations” with various Palestinian factions. The commission said that it has provided 11 polling centers in Jerusalem suburbs (located outside the Jerusalem Municipality boundaries) to enable 150,000 eligible voters who hold Israeli-issued ID cards to cast their ballots without prior registration. “We will not hold elections without Jerusalem, because this will consolidate Israel’s desire to separate us from Jerusalem,” Sha’ath emphasized. He pointed out that Abbas has dispatched PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki to a number of European Union countries as part of an effort to mobilize international support to pressure Israel into allowing the Palestinians to hold the elections in Jerusalem. Sha’ath’s announcement came as Palestinians prepare to hold the first elections for the Palestinian parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council, in 16 years. The parliamentary election is set to take place on May 22, to be followed by a presidential election on July 31. “Malki is now in Europe working at the highest levels to put pressure on Israel,” according to Sha’ath, who is a former PA foreign minister. “In addition, we are continuing our contacts with various international parties to pressure Israel to allow the elections to take place in Jerusalem.” The PA has nevertheless not lost hope that international pressure will force Israel to allow Jerusalem Arabs to cast their ballots and run in the elections, he added. ON MONDAY, Malki briefed Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès and the European Union’s High Representative Josep Borrell on the latest developments concerning the elections. Malki accused Israel of placing “obstacles” to hinder the elections. He said that the Israeli government has not yet provided a response to the message sent by the Palestinian leadership regarding organizing elections in Jerusalem. PA Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Fadi Al-Hidmi met on Tuesday with the European Union Representative to the West Bank and Gaza Strip Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, and discussed with him ways of preventing Israel from “obstructing” the Palestinian elections in Jerusalem, the PA’s official news agency Wafa reported. Hidmi stressed during the meeting that the Jerusalem Arabs were entitled to participate in the elections in accordance with international laws and agreements signed between the PLO and Israel. He noted that Jerusalem Arabs had participated in the previous elections for the Palestinian parliament and presidency in 1996, 2005 and 2006. They voted then at six Israeli post offices located in different parts of the city. Hidmi added that the international community should not allow the Israeli government to use the Palestinian right to vote in Jerusalem “to achieve its ambitions, which are unanimously rejected by the international community, headed by the European Union.” He urged the international community to exert more pressure on the Israeli government to declare its commitment to implementing the agreements it has signed regarding the vote in Jerusalem. He also complained that Jerusalem police have prevented residents of east Jerusalem from holding gatherings to discuss the upcoming elections and have arrested some candidates. “All we are demanding from the international community is to help us exercise our right to express our opinion by choosing our representatives,” Hidmi said. On Monday night, Abbas said during a meeting of the Fatah Central Committee, the highest decision-making body of the Palestinian ruling faction, that he was fully committed to holding the elections on time “in all the Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem.” The Palestinian leadership is holding contacts with several countries, specifically the US and the European Union, to exert pressure on the Israeli government to abide by the signed agreements regarding the electoral process in Jerusalem, Abbas said. “Until now, we haven’t received a reply from Israel,” he added, referring to the request to allow Jerusalem Arabs to vote and present their candidacy. After the meeting, the committee issued a statement calling on the US, EU, Russia and China to put pressure on Israel to allow the elections to take place in Jerusalem. “The Palestinian people will not accept any veto by the occupation regarding the participation of our people in Jerusalem in the elections,” the statement read. “Jerusalem and its people are a redline that cannot be harmed or tampered with.”

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