December 12, 2018

The Rise and Fall of Jerusalem’s Only Arab Mayoral Candidate

“Aziz Abu Sarah, a Palestinian activist and business owner, had hoped to make history by becoming the first Palestinian mayor of Jerusalem.

In early September, Abu Sarah, 38 and a resident of Jerusalem’s Wadi Joz neighborhood, decided to challenge a longstanding Palestinian boycott of elections in the city and announced he would be running for the top job in the municipality on a new Palestinian ticket called Al-Quds Lana (Arabic for Jerusalem is Ours).

“Our goal is to take our rights,” he had told The Times of Israel in an interview at the American Colony Hotel days after announcing his run for mayor, referring to East Jerusalem Palestinians. “We need to preserve our Palestinian identity, find solutions to the classroom shortages in schools, stop home demolitions, make building permits available and deal with many other issues. We pay taxes like the people in West Jerusalem, but we do not receive what they do in return.”

East Jerusalem suffers from high poverty, a shortage of some 2,000 classrooms, a lack of permits to build homes, inadequate sanitation services and several other problems, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, an Israeli human and civil rights group.”

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