The Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas has assured that at least seven seats of a new legislative council will go to Christians in the elections in the occupied territories to be held on May 22nd.
Palestinian Christians are uneasy about the ration, which would allow at least seven Christians with the most votes to sit on the council. With some, like Hanan Ashrawi a Christian who recently resigned her position on the Palestine Liberal Organization (PLO)’s executive committee voicing out their concern as they feel that Christians have been immensely active in political, social, cultural and economic life and many of them would be able to gain seats on merit without the quota.
Bernard Sabella, another former member of the existing Palestinian Legislative Council, raised the point that the Palestinian electorate should vote on the basis of geography to represent their nation not their religion.
In the 1996 elections, the total parliamentary membership was 88 and Christians had a quota of six members. Jack Sara, the president of Bethlehem Bible College encouraged young Christians to participate as candidates or as voters.
Christians make about 1% of the population of the occupied territories, a vast representation on the council. The low number of Christians is due to the emigration of Palestinian Christians who have left the country due to violence amid the Israeli occupation.