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Source: Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly
16 January 2006



Middle East rapporteur regrets Israeli decision to ban Hamas from campaigning in East Jerusalem

Strasbourg, 16.01.2006 - Mikhail Margelov (Russian Federation, EDG), Rapporteur on the Middle East of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Political Affairs Committee, has welcomed the recent Israeli decision to allow 200 000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem to vote in the forthcoming parliamentary elections due to take place on 25 January 2006.

However, he also expressed anxiety about the conditions attached to this decision. In particular, banning Hamas from campaigning and blocking its inclusion on ballot papers distributed in the area might spoil the legitimacy of the elections and in consequence jeopardise the democratic process in the Palestinian Territories.

Moreover, in the Rapporteur’s opinion, the inclusion of Hamas in the political process could result in the rejection of illegal means of action by this party and thus contribute to a peaceful solution in the area.

The Parliamentary Assembly and its committees have been co-operating with parliamentarians from both the Knesset and the Palestinian Legislative Council. A PACE delegation will observe the forthcoming elections.

Contact:
Communication Unit of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
Tel. +33 3 88 41 31 93 Fax +33 3 90 21 41 34; e-mail:
pace.com@coe.int



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