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Photo: Reuters
East Jerusalem. Elections as planned?
Photo: Reuters
Police raid Hamas offices in Jerusalem
Police officers shut down Hamas headquarters in capital, detain four members including organization's head in east Jerusalem. Meanwhile Palestinians claim Israel plans to impede vote in town, despite approving it Sunday
Jerusalem police shut down Hamas offices in the capital Sunday, after police officers conducted a search of the premises and detained for questioning the head of the movement's list in Jerusalem and number two on its national list, Mohamed Abu-Tir.

 

Another three Hamas activists were arrested during the raid. Officers also confiscated computers and documents related to the movement's election campaign in east Jerusalem.

 

Earlier, the Israeli government approved the right for 5,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to vote in upcoming Palestinian Authority elections, in voting stations which will be placed in post offices across the town.

 

The remaining 105,000 Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem will vote in the eastern part of the capital.

 

The decision was slammed by outgoing Foreign Minister SIlvan Shalom (Likud,) who told reporters "we're talking about a dangerous decision and the crossing of a red line.

 

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials fear Israel may attempt to hamper elections by raining terror on voters. Both Fatah and Hamas members claim Israeli authorities have been placing obstacles in their path.

 

'Israel plans to impede elections'

 

Palestinian and Israeli representatives are set to meet Sunday at the general police headquarters in Jerusalem in order to discuss the elections. The Palestinians claim that despite Israel's concession to enable the vote, it in effect takes steps which may intimidate voters from showing up at the voting stations.

 

According to the Palestinians, Israel plans to place video cameras at voting stations to record people arriving to cast their ballot. PA officials further claim Israeli police are to boost its presence near the polls, and that some police officers will be disguised in civilian clothes and attempt to provoke riots.

 

The Palestinians also say Israel has managed to put its hands on the PA's voters list, and may use this information to impede elections.

 

They believe Israel will also take security measures and change traffic arrangements in such way that may interfere with the vote and prohibit residents from arriving at the polls.

 

The recent arrests of Palestinian activists in Jerusalem are proof, Palestinian officials say.

 

However, in spite of these scenarios, Palestinian activists continue to move freely in east Jerusalem, and the campaign moves forward in full speed.

 

Ali Waked contributed to this report

 

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