The Islamic Jihad has decided to boycott the upcoming Palestinian legislative elections, a senior leader of the resistance group said on Friday. Even so, Islamic Jihad would also not call on its members to boycott the ballot on July 17.

‘We’re moving towards not participating in the legislative council election, meaning we will not field candidates,’ senior leader Mohammed al-Hindi told Reuters.

‘We will not ask our supporters to boycott the election. Voting is optional’ he added.

Hindi explained that his movement in principle objects to running political elections under occupation.

‘We are moving towards not participating as long as the occupation controls the entire election process,’ he said.

Contrary to Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the main Islamic movement in the Palestinian territories, has decided to run for elections, and is considering joining the Palestinian cabinet.

Hamas has been shifting towards the political mainstream since the new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas took power following the death of Palestinian late President Yasser Arafat.