Arabs Want to Vote in the Jerusalem Elections, but Many Are Afraid to Do So

Aug. 24 2018

Arabs constitute 31 percent of those eligible to vote in Jerusalem’s municipal elections, but in the past they’ve made up only about 1 percent of the voters. Ramadan Dabash seeks to change this with his candidacy for the city council, but—as usual—the PLO, Hamas, and Muslim religious figures are waging a campaign of propaganda and intimidation to keep Arabs from voting. Nadav Shragai reports:

[T]he mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, [ruled] that whoever takes part in the elections is a traitor and . . . “will be defined as someone who has left the fold of nationhood, the homeland, and the religion.” A few weeks ago, the PLO executive committee took the same stance, warning the east Jerusalem population not to have anything to do with the elections. The committee, which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas, warned that “participating in the elections could signify de-facto recognition of Israeli rule and sovereignty in Jerusalem.” . . .

Early this year, a wide-ranging survey of east Jerusalem Arabs by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion found that 60 percent think they should take part in the Jerusalem municipal elections at the end of October. . . . [A]fter 50 years together in a single city, . . . many in the Arab community seek [to obtain] parity of services and infrastructure between east and west Jerusalem by securing clout on the city council. The survey findings suggest that this interest is stronger than interest in the Palestinian national narrative about Jerusalem pushed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. . . .

And yet, just months before the elections, the atmosphere in some parts of east Jerusalem is one of fear, and it is not clear whether these trends, which have been mounting for several years, will be translated on election day into east Jerusalem Arabs heading to the polling stations. . . . In previous municipal-election campaigns, the terror organizations were able to torpedo any significant participation by east Jerusalem Arabs and Arab parties. . . . For example, Hanna Siniora, the former editor of the newspaper al-Fajir, who wanted to run for the city council, had two of his cars set ablaze. Local initiatives in [the neighborhoods of] Beit Safafa and Sur Baher met a similar fate. . . .

Israel, for its part, failed to create a sense of security that would have enabled more east Jerusalem residents to take part in the elections.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: East Jerusalem, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Jerusalem, PLO

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy