With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas widely expected to cancel the May 22 legislative elections, the Hamas terror group said Wednesday that it would hold Israel accountable for the decision.
In an official statement, the Gaza-based organization that "no Palestinian can accept holding elections without Jerusalem."
Hamas said that Election Day will be designated as a "national day" in which the Palestinians will confront Israel to force it to hold the vote.
The group said it "will not agree to be part in the election's delay or cancelation," and called on other Palestinian factions to do the same.
According to a report Tuesday, Abbas has notified the European Union, Jordan and Egypt of his decision to postpone elections.
Abbas' decision to delay the elections is due to Israel's refusal to allow Palestinians living in East Jerusalem to cast a ballot in the first Palestinian legislative elections in 15 years, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar said.
The EU reportedly asked Abbas to delay his announcement until Thursday in order to give the European bloc time to try to pressure Israel into allowing voting to take place in East Jerusalem.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said there has been no formal announcement on whether Israel will allow Palestinian voting in Jerusalem, as it did during the last elections in 2006.
Israel told the EU it did not intend to interfere in the elections but was worried about Hamas’ projected landslide victory and its implications on the country's stability.
Palestinian analysts say the Jerusalem dispute offers Abbas an excuse to call off elections he might lose.
After the elections were announced, his own Fatah party split, with internal challengers announcing their own list of candidates that threatens to undermine the official slate.
The split could jeopardize Abbas's long grip on power by allowing the Islamist group Hamas to gain more seats from Fatah's internal divisions - a key reason Fatah lost the previous elections.