Israel faulted for continued restrictions

The Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of failing to ease restrictions in the Palestinian territories on the eve of Sunday's landmark presidential election.

    Saib Uraiqat: 'The roadblocks are still there'

    "The situation on the ground is the same. Nothing has changed and the roadblocks are still there," Palestinian negotiations minister Saib Uraiqat told reporters on Saturday. 

    "We call on the Israeli government to deliver on its commitment by lifting roadblocks and pulling out its troops," he said. 

    Uraiqat argued that "the continued presence of roadblocks and closures poses a serious threat to the holding of free and fair elections tomorrow." 

    Low profile

    Israel had announced its troops would keep a low profile during 72 hours as of Saturday in order to facilitate the second Palestinian presidential election. 

    "Our message to the world is that the problem does not lie with Palestinian democracy but with Israeli occupation"

    Saib Uraiqat,
    Chief Palestinian negotiator

    According to the Israeli army, some roadblocks were due to be removed in a bid to allow Palestinians to travel more freely from their homes to polling stations. 

    Israeli public radio reported that the government was reconsidering its plans to loosen its noose on the territories following a Palestinian shooting attack in the West Bank that left one soldier dead and four other Israelis wounded. 

    The ambush was claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed offshoot of election frontrunner Mahmud Abbas's own Fatah party. 

    Uraiqat called on the Palestinian people "to turn out en masse
    for the election despite the difficult conditions imposed by
    Israel." 

    "Our message to the world is that the problem does not lie with Palestinian democracy but with Israeli occupation."

    SOURCE: AFP


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