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Mofaz: Israel to Permit Voting in Arab East Jerusalem


Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz says Arab residents of East Jerusalem will be allowed to vote in this month's Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Mofaz said Tuesday that Arabs will be able to cast ballots at post offices, as they have in past Palestinian elections, under interim peace deals in the 1990s.

But other Israeli officials say that decision has not yet been finalized. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says he has not heard anything on the matter from Israeli officials.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that U.S. officials assured him voting would take place in East Jerusalem as scheduled. He had threatened to cancel the election if Israel barred voting in East Jerusalem, to protest the inclusion of candidates from the Hamas militant group.

Two senior U.S. envoys are due in the region this week for talks with both sides ahead of the January 25 vote.

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