Center for Women
Report on Election Day in Jerusalem
lang=EN-US dir=LTR style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial'>15 January 2005:
The Jerusalem Center for Women is very dissatisfied with the election process that took place in Jerusalem both before Election Day on January 9, 2005 and on Election Day itself. We believe this election provides further evidence of the poor state of Palestinian rights in Jerusalem.
Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem hold what is called Jerusalem Resident Identity Card. This status grants certain privileges denied to other West Bank residents (such as national insurance, health insurance, relative ease of mobility). This status also carries significant restrictions unique to Jerusalem residents. First, as residents and not citizens of Israel, they do not hold Israeli passports. They are not permitted to hold Palestinian Passports because the issue of Jerusalem has been left to final status negotiations. They hold Jordanian Passports yet need a special permit to travel to Jordan. They cannot live in Jordan because they don't have a Jordanian ID number, i.e. residency.
In addition, with the Apartheid Wall being built to nearly completely surround Jerusalem, they will not be able to move around the West Bank. They are already denied access to Bethlehem and some other areas. This creates major problems for the more than 150,000 Jerusalemites who are married to Palestinians holding West Bank identity cards.
Further, in 1995 Israel passed a discriminatory law permitting the Israeli Ministry of Interior to confiscate identity cards of East Jerusalem residents if they are unable to prove that they have been living in the city for the past 7 years. This policy facilitates Israel’s plan to keep a ratio of 72% Israelis to 28% Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Obstruction of Free Elections
Given this background, it is not surprising that free elections were obstructed. The Jerusalem Center for Women is especially concerned that:
Voting in Jerusalem was carried out only in Israeli post offices with confusing procedures and a lack of privacy. Israel authorities who controlled the voter lists in Jerusalem placed voters’ names on poll lists far away from where they live. Some voters needed to tour up to 6 post offices to find their names and sometimes were not successful.
Enduring Palestinian Determination
Despite these obstacles, the Palestinian electorate went to polling centers on January 9th to vote in the second presidential elections under the Palestinian National Authority since 1994. Despite the existence of occupation Palestinians demonstrated a spirit of determination to exercise their electoral rights. Approximately 43% of all Palestinians with a right to vote cast their ballots in the presidential elections (61% of registered voters). Only 21.9% of Palestinian Jerusalemites with the right to vote were able to cast their ballots.
The Jerusalem Center for Women calls for all irregularities to be taken into consideration and changes to be made so that the process of parliamentary elections next July will guarantee the rights of Jerusalemites to express their political will freely, respectfully and smoothly.
Center for Women
Beit Hanina Al-Hirbawi Building
4th Floor P.O.Box 51630
Tel.: 00972-2-234 70 68
Fax.: 00972-2-234 76 53