Mohammad Shtayyeh
Mohammad Shtayyeh Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas initiated the parliamentary and presidential elections, obtained the agreement of the Palestinian organizations, and the PA is now awaiting the Israeli response to its request to permit elections to take place in eastern Jerusalem.

"We will never agree that Jerusalem will not be included in the Palestinian elections," said Shtayyeh.

In an appeal to ambassadors and consuls, the cabinet chief said the PA is asking their countries to intervene and pressure Israel to allow for elections in eastern Jerusalem. He also called on those countries to take part in the overseeing of the election process.

Shtayyeh noted that the PA seeks to "restore unity to the national camp and end the geographical and demographic split between Judea and Samaria and Gaza."

Abbas recently renewed a pledge to hold fresh parliamentary elections in the PA, which have not been held since 2006 when Hamas won an overwhelming majority.

Last week the PA chairman made clear that the elections will not take place if Israel does not allow Palestinian Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem to vote.

Abbas' term as PA chairman was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.

His Fatah faction declared last month that the 84-year-old will be its “sole candidate” in the election.

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