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PA to hold elections if no reconciliation with Hamas

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh makes a speech as he leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Ministry building in Ramallah, West Bank on 6 May 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh makes a speech as he leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Ministry building in Ramallah, West Bank on 6 May 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Thursday that the PA will hold a general election if it fails to reach a reconciliation deal with Hamas.

During a celebration for the Palestinian Red Crescent, Shtayyeh said that “if there is no agreement with Hamas, we would turn to the people to have their say. We are ready for this,” Anadolu Agency reported.

The PA – which is dominated by Fatah – has been engaged in a spat with Hamas since the latter won the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections in 2006. When the PA refused to concede defeat, a power struggle and conflict ensued, resulting in Hamas governing the besieged Gaza Strip and the PA governing the occupied West Bank.

READ: Hamas rejects Egypt proposal to return Rafah Crossing to PA

Shtayyeh also discussed Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank, stressing that his government would prosecute anyone involved in facilitating Israeli settlement whether they were diplomats, companies or settlers.

His comments were likely referring to the participation of US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and US President Donald Trump’s Advisor to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, in opening a settler tunnel dubbed “Pilgrims’ Road” under Palestinian houses in Jerusalem.

Shtayyeh said: “We a saw an ambassador of great power taking part in demolishing Palestinian houses in Silwan… This has never happened in the history of the world’s diplomacy.”

READ: Palestinian anger at US participation in tunnel opening

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