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Wednesday, 4 June 2014


New PM urges world to press Israel to allow Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to vote in Palestinian election

Rami Hamdallah, the prime minister of the newly appointed Palestinian unity government, on Wednesday urged the international community to pressure Israel to allow elections to take place in East Jerusalem.

During a meeting with foreign representatives in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Hamdallah said that "elections cannot be held without Jerusalem," and urged support for the electoral process.

Hamdallah heads a government whose main task is to prepare Palestinian elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip within six months. The Palestinians also want the participation of tens of thousands of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after the 1967 Middle East war, in keeping with their demand to make Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state and to share sovereignty over it with Israel.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Knesset meeting that he would not allow the PLO to hold parliamentary or presidential ballots in East Jerusalem.

The international community has already expressed support of the Palestinian government that was sworn in on Monday. The United States, Russia, China, India, Turkey, France and the UK all announced their backing. The European Union and the United Nations also stated their endorsement.

The United Nations welcomes the new Palestinian unity government and is ready to lend its full support in efforts to reunite the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

The spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made the remarks after UN special envoy Robert Serry held talks with Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah. "The United Nations has long underscored the need for progress towards Palestinian unity," Ban's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

"The United Nations stands ready to lend its full support to the newly formed government in its effort to reunite the West Bank and Gaza... under one legitimate Palestinian authority," he added.

The office of the EU High Representative said in a statement that the government was an "important step in the process of Palestinian reconciliation."

"We welcome the appointment of a government of independent personalities and the declaration by President Abbas that this new government is committed to the principle of the two state solution based on the 1967 borders, to the recognition of Israel's legitimate right to exist, to non-violence and to the respect of previous agreements," the statement said.

British Foreign Minister William Hague also welcomed the unity government, saying that "reuniting Gaza and the West Bank under a government committed to peace is a necessary condition for resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict."

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