The Israeli government approved on Sunday the participation of Jerusalemite Palestinians in the legislative elections scheduled for January 25, but did not authorize Hamas movement to campaign in the city.
The decision was approved during a Knesset session on Sunday; the proposal to allow the Palestinians to campaign in Jerusalem was submitted by the acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.
Senior Israeli security officials also attended the session.
The government session was held in participation of only six misters, since four Likud ministers resigned last week from the government as the general elections in Israel are approaching.
Israel predicts that 100.000 Palestinians residents of Jerusalem will participate in the Palestinian legislative elections. The residents will vote in five ballot boxes which will be placed in post offices in East Jerusalem, while the rest of the Jerusalemite Palestinians will vote in the Arabic neighborhoods, north of the city or in Ramallah.
The number of Palestinians in Jerusalem is approximately 240.000 residents.
Meanwhile, the resigned Israeli Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, Likud party, described allowing the Palestinians to vote in Jerusalem as condescending to the Palestinians.
Shalom said in a press conference that the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stated, before he suffered the stroke, that if Hamas participates in the elections, he will not allow the vote in Jerusalem.
According to the Israeli online daily Haaretz, sources at the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said that the government decided to allow the Palestinians to vote in Jerusalem after president Mahmoud Abbas vowed to disarm the Palestinian groups after the elections.
Earlier on Sunday, Israeli soldiers arrested four Hamas candidates in the Jerusalem’s Old City while they were preparing to hold a press conference; two Hamas members were also arrested.
Soldiers also broke into a campaign center for Hamas in the same area.