Israel's Cabinet has agreed to allow Arabs in East Jerusalem vote for the Palestinian parliament -- but said candidates from the Islamic militant group Hamas may not appear on ballots in the city.
Officials approved the measures in a unanimous vote Sunday, resolving a dispute that threatened to delay the January 25th vote. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the ban on Hamas members, saying all candidates should be able to take part. Hours later, Israeli police in East Jerusalem arrested the number two Hamas candidate Sheikh Mohammed Abu Tir and two other Palestinians preparing to hold a rally in the city. Palestinian officials had threatened to delay the vote if Israel blocked voting in East Jerusalem.
The poll in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be the first to include candidates from Hamas, which has called for the destruction of Israel.