(JNS.org) Palestinian municipal elections scheduled for Oct. 8 have been suspended until at least December due to a legal dispute between Hamas and Fatah, Reuters reported.
This would have been the first democratic election in a decade between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and their rival, the Islamist terror group Hamas.
Based on a petition filed by Hamas, the Palestinian high court in Ramallah ruled to postpone the elections because of a dispute over party lists drawn up by Fatah and that there can be no Palestinian elections in eastern Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Authority claim eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, but Israel maintains sovereignty over an undivided Jerusalem, so Palestinian elections cannot legally be held there.
"Elections can't take place in one place and not the other," the presiding judge said in his ruling.
"The election can't take place in Jerusalem and its neighborhoods. Also, there are problems with the formation of courts in Gaza . . . Therefore, the court decides to stop the election."
Fatah said they hold Hamas responsible for "foiling the election, starting with the unjustified petitions it filed," Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi said.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused the court of stopping the election to "rescue" Fatah, who they believe would overwhelmingly lose the election.
"The high court decision is politically motivated and it came in order to rescue Fatah after its lists of candidates collapsed in a number of areas," Zuhri said.