A senior Hamas official said on Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority's decision to postpone the elections last month has hindered the efforts to end the internal Palestinian split, Xinhua reports.
Saleh Arouri, Hamas' deputy chief who is in charge of the reconciliation issue, said in a statement that the failure to achieve a breakthrough in the previous rounds of dialogue was a result of postponing the elections.
The decision not to hold the elections "was made without consultations with the partners or the guarantors," Arouri added.
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas officially announced in late April that the Palestinian elections would be postponed, citing Israel’s refusal to allow Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote.
“We have decided to postpone the election until the participation of our people in Jerusalem is guaranteed,” Abbas said in a speech that aired on PA TV.
The PA has continuously demanded that Israel permit Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote in the elections. In this regard, PA officials worked in the international arena in an attempt to get Israel to agree to this demand.
This was not the first time that the PA has used Israel’s refusal to permit Jerusalem Arabs to vote as an excuse not to hold elections at all.
Hamas, which opposes the postponement of the elections, has threatened a confrontation with the Palestinian Authority in response to the move.
Abbas' term as PA chairman was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.
No PA elections have taken place since 2006 and similar initiatives in the past have failed to result in elections.