Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on Tuesday said Israel will permit Arab residents of East Jerusalem to vote in the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary election, local newspaper Ha'aretz reported on its online edition.
Mofaz was quoted as saying Israel would follow the policy of previous Palestinian elections.
In last year's presidential vote, a small number of East Jerusalem Arabs were permitted to cast votes in local post offices, while the remainder voted in outlying suburbs in the West Bank.
"Israel's policy regarding elections in East Jerusalem will stay like it was, and the elections will be held under the arrangement reached in 1996," Mofaz told local reporters while on a tour near Jerusalem.
"There will be elections in East Jerusalem in the 50 post offices approved in 1996 and residents will also be able to vote in other polling booths in the West Bank," he added.
It is a key step toward resolving a standoff that had threatened to derail the balloting. Israeli government sources in Jerusalem said on Monday that Israel would not give Palestinians an excuse to postpone the elections.
Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday said the United States has assured him that East Jerusalem Palestinians will be allowed to vote in the city and the PNA elections will therefore go ahead as scheduled on Jan. 25.
The United States, however, refused to confirm or deny Abbas' statements, said Israel Radio on Tuesday morning.