[JURIST] Under pressure from the United States, the Israeli Cabinet led by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official profile] has decided to allow Palestinians to vote in Jerusalem during the January 25 Palestinian parliamentary elections [BBC backgrounder] so long as militant groups are not on the ballot. Israel had threatened to bar [JURIST report] the residents of east Jerusalem from voting locally because Hamas [BBC backgrounder] candidates were running; Palestinian authorities had responded that they would cancel the election if Jerusalem residents were barred. Jerusalem Arabs will now cast absentee votes in local post offices. The compromise was reached by an Israeli cabinet of ministers from the centrist Kadima party [Wikipedia backgrounder] since the ministers from the hard-line Likud party [official website] resigned this week. In the context of the continued hospitalization of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon [BBC profile, official website], Israeli Attorney General Meni Mazuz [official profile] has instructed Olmert to continue as acting prime minister until Israel's March 28 elections.