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Israel will not allow Palestinians held in Israeli prisons to vote in the upcoming elections for Palestinian president, a Palestinian Cabinet minister said Sunday.

The Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs, Hisham Abdel Razek, said he was informed by Israel that the prisoners will not be allowed to vote in the Jan. 9 elections to replace Yasser Arafat.

Israel holds some 7,000 Palestinians in jails and military prisons. Ensuring the release of the prisoners is a key Palestinian demand from Israel.

Abdel Razek said the Palestinians would go to Israel's Supreme Court Monday to appeal the decision by Israel's public security minister, Gideon Ezra.

Officials from the Public Security Ministry were unavailable for comment late Sunday.

"There is nothing in the Israeli or the Palestinian law that bars prisoners from taking part in the elections," Abdel Razek said.

Israeli prisoners can vote in Israeli elections.

Israel has said it will do everything possible to ensure the Palestinians can hold free and fair elections.