Palestinian muftis issue fatwa banning participation in Jerusalem elections

Palestinian Islamic religious authorities called on Arab citizens of Jerusalem who have a right to vote in upcoming Jerusalem elections to boycott the vote. 

By: World Israel News Staff

The Palestinian Islamic religious authorities on Monday issued a fatwa (religious decree) banning Arab residents of Jerusalem from participating in the upcoming Jerusalem municipal election in November 2018, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The eastern Jerusalem Supreme Council issued the religious decree, which said that the Arab residents were “religiously forbidden” from voting or running in the election.

The move is perceived as an attempt by the Palestinian leadership to prevent “normalization” with Israel.

The council alleged that Israel has never ceased its efforts to drive the Arab residents of Jerusalem to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city. It further claimed that Israel has always tried to entice the Arabs to take part in the municipal election, while also “blackmailing them by decreasing municipal services and demolishing [illegally constructed] houses” owned by Arabs.

“The disadvantages of participating in the election are bigger and greater than any other gained interests,” the fatwah said.

The council warned that participation in the election would assist Israel in its effort to “Judaize” Jerusalem and “change its historical and religious features. The occupied city of Jerusalem is an Arab and Islamic city.”

The fatwa was issued after Ramadan Dabash, an Arab community leader from Sur Baher near Jerusalem, became the second Arab candidate to announce his participation in the upcoming election.

Fatwa an ‘injustice to the Arab residents of Jerusalem’

Dabash told the Post on Monday that he rejects the fatwa and is determined to run in the election.

“Our participation in the election has nothing to do with politics or religion,” he said. “This so-called fatwa does injustice to the Arab residents of Jerusalem, who are seeking better services and want to improve their living conditions.”

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2014, out of Jerusalem’s 850,000 residents, 316,000 were Arabs and 534,000 Jews and others.

In March, Dabash told the Ha’aretz daily that in his opinion, “people are ready to vote. There is always an opposition, people who say that this is Israelization and normalization, but I tell them that we live our daily lives and this is everyone’s municipality and everyone’s state.”

“I’m not saying that we should give up on al-Aqsa or convert to Judaism, or give up the Palestinian nation, but we have to have our place in the municipality,” Dabash insisted.