Campaigning for the Palestinan presidency is drawing to an end a day ahead of Sunday’s election.
Mahmoud Abbas is the front runner in the race to succeed Yasser Arafat who died in November. He cancelled a campaign appearance in Jerusalem because he objected to being seen with Israeli troops. But he promised supporters that one day east Jerusalem would be the capital of a future Palestinian state. He also pledged to push for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Mustafa Barghouti, who is trailing behind Abbas in polls, had a brief run-in with police on the last day of campaigning. He was detained after trying to enter Jerusalem for Friday prayers. It was the second time he had been arrested in ten days. Police say they feared he would cause a disturbance. Hundreds of international observers have begun arriving for the election, among them former US President Jimmy Carter. “We don’t have any authority but we do have a deep desire to understand yourproblems and we will do our best to work out the problems with Israeli authorities.” Israeli authorities are to ease their military presence in Palestinian cities to avoid interference once voting is underway.