The Palestinian Authority's chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, published a fatwa on Saturday banning Arab residents of Jerusalem from participating in the upcoming municipal election.
In a separate development, the chairman of the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, renewed the fatwa barring Palestinians from selling property to Jews. He also warned Arab Jerusalemites against resorting to Israeli courts to settle disputes over real estate, out of fear that their homes and lands might end up in Jewish hands.
Although the PA has previously urged Jerusalem Arabs to boycott the municipal election, this is the first time the chief Islamic judge issued such a fatwa.
The overwhelming majority of Arabs in the capital have refrained from participating in the local elections since 1967 - some for political reasons and others out of a belief that they won't benefit from going to the ballot boxes or running as candidates. The handful of Arabs who defied the boycott have been attacked both physically and verbally.
But let me clarify one point. The Arabs who have been attacked for defying the election boycotts in the past were attacked by their fellow Arabs and not the Jews. Let’s face it – it’s hard to keep the ‘apartheid’ victim mantle fresh if one is choosing to actively participate in the political process.