The head of the Refugee Committee of Hamas has said that all Palestinians, wherever they live, should be given a vote in the proposed general elections. Issam Odwan called on Arab states with Palestinian refugees to let them vote in the host countries.
In a statement issued on Monday, Odwan said: "It is a national duty for the Palestinian political factions to agree that the general elections should engage all Palestinians everywhere." He asked for all of the Palestinian groups to take real steps on the ground on this matter, as well as seek permission from host countries to let Palestinian refugees vote in the election for the Palestinian National Council. A special committee, he suggested, should ensure that the mechanism for the engagement of refugees in the election does not infringe the sovereignty of the host countries.
With regards to Jordan, which has the biggest concentration of Palestinians on its soil, Odwan said that the government should allow its Palestinian refugees and citizens to vote in the PNC elections. "That would reinforce the Palestinians' links to their homeland and undermine any thoughts of Jordan as an alternative homeland." He asked Jordan to give the Palestinian Central Election Committee permission to register Palestinians in the Kingdom and supervise the election process.
If Palestinians in exile are excluded from the PNC elections, added Mr. Odwan, the result will be a weakened, marginalised Council.