RAMALLAH, West Bank -- The Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, said yesterday that he will not run in next month's parliamentary elections because of an Israeli threat to ban voting in east Jerusalem.
Qurei, who lives on the outskirts of east Jerusalem, also said he thinks the Jan. 25 vote should be postponed because of Israel's move. ''It is the main issue: We must not go to elections without Jerusalem," he said at a news conference.
Control of Jerusalem is one of the central disputes in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians claim predominantly Arab east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. Israel, which captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, considers the city its capital.
Israel has allowed east Jerusalem Arabs to participate in past Palestinian elections. But it is threatening to ban voting in the parliamentary election if the Palestinian Authority does not prevent the militant Islamic group Hamas from running.
Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and remains committed to Israel's destruction, seems poised to make a strong showing against the Palestinians' long-ruling Fatah Party in the election.
Qurei said his decision was not related to infighting within Fatah between party veterans and a disgruntled young guard that has formed a breakaway party and entered a separate list of candidates.
Eager to bring the rebels back, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is seeking to redraw his party's list of candidates, giving top positions to younger activists. That move has upset party veterans, including Qurei, who would havea lesser chance of election.
Although Qurei now says he will not run for a parliamentary seat, he is widely expected to be appointed to a top ministerial position in the next government.