Palestine PM requests pressure on Israel for east Jerusalem vote
JERUSALEM - Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah called Wednesday for international pressure on Israel to let Palestinians in annexed east Jerusalem vote in an upcoming general election.
Hamdallah's new unity government is tasked with organising parliamentary and presidential elections in the Gaza Strip and West Bank by the end of the year.
But voting in east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed, would require Israeli authorisation.
Meeting foreign delegates in Ramallah Wednesday, Hamdallah urged "the international community to intervene and exert pressure on Israel to hold the elections in east Jerusalem," his office said.
Hamdallah stressed that "the new government will not be able to guarantee a free and democratic elections without east Jerusalem".
A surprise unity deal signed in April between Israel archfoe Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation aimed to end| years of bitter rivalry between the Islamist movement and Fatah, which dominates the PLO.
Israel has refused to recognise the new government.
Hamas won the last round of parliamentary elections in 2006, but was boycotted by the US and Europe.
On Tuesday, the European Union welcomed the new government as "an important step" in Palestinian reconciliation.
But a statement said future support would depend on the government sticking to principles such as the need for a two-state solution and Israel's right to exist.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes Europe dealing with the unity government, saying the EU should not accept a "terrorist organisation" -- Hamas -- being involved in government.