The Christian Science Monitor

Breaking a taboo: Jerusalem elections and the Palestinian vote

Ramadan Dabash, a candidate for Jerusalem's City Council from East Jerusalem, stands in front of City Hall. If elected he would make history as the first Palestinian from East Jerusalem to be a City Council member. Source: Dina Kraft

It’s only a little after 10 a.m., but the sun is already baking the sprawling limestone plaza in front of Jerusalem’s City Hall and Palestinian Ramadan Dabash, a civil engineer, builder, and community activist from traditionally Arab East Jerusalem, is in the midst of making a dent in history.

Mr. Dabash, who was submitting the paperwork inside needed to register his run for a seat on the Jerusalem City Council, takes a brief respite to explain why he is breaking decades of a Palestinian taboo – which has largely held since Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and subsequently declared the whole city its unified capital – to do so.

“We, with our very own hands, we can change this situation – 51 years of neglect of East Jerusalem,” he says.

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