‘Israel not trying to thwart Palestinian elections’

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RAMALLAH 

Israel is not trying to thwart the Palestinian elections and expects European countries will not pay heed to accusations being leveled by Palestinian officials, a senior Israeli official said Tuesday. 

The remarks were made by Alon Bar, head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s political department, in a meeting with 13 European ambassadors, according to a report by Israeli news website Walla.

Ambassadors from the EU, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and other countries emphasized “the importance of holding democratic elections in the Palestinian Territories to strengthen political participation and accountability as well as democratic checks & balances,” according to a tweet posted by their embassies after the meeting.

The European diplomats pressed Israel to allow a delegation of observers to enter the occupied West Bank and Gaza to monitor the elections, the Walla report said.

Bar said Israel views the Palestinian elections as an internal Palestinian matter and will not intervene in any manner.

He claimed that Tel Aviv has not even made any decision on the issue of elections in East Jerusalem.

“Israel is acting with caution and responsibility to prevent the deterioration of the situation on the ground and expects the European countries to behave in the same way,” the report quoted him as saying.

After a gap of 15 years, Palestinians are set to elect a new legislature on May 22 and a president on July 31.

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