Palestinians press Israel to ease travel restrictions ahead of Sunday elections

Palestinians press Israel to ease travel restrictions ahead of Sunday elections

[JURIST] Palestinian leaders called on Israeli authorities Saturday to ease travel restrictions as promised on the eve of Sunday's upcoming Palestinian elections to pick a successor to late president Yasser Arafat. Israel said it would keep its troops out of West Bank towns and would lift some roadblocks, but that it would not eliminate main checkpoints. Palestinian politicians are concerned that the checkpoints will hamper voting; Israelis however, are worried about ongoing actions against Israeli soldiers and civilians, citing a Friday attack by militants who killed an off-duty soldier and wounded three others in the northern West Bank. Read the Isreali Defense Forces press release on the Friday attack here. International observers toured checkpoints Saturday to see if procedures have been changed to facilitate voter access. From Israel, Haaretz has more on the observers. The official Palestinian Authority Central Election Commission provides updates on the vote here (website may be slow or unreachable due to high trafiic). Reuters has more.