EU calls on Israel to facilitate polls in Palestine

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BRUSSELS 

The EU on Friday urged Israel to enable elections across the entire Palestinian territory and expressed regret over delayed vote.

“The decision to postpone the planned Palestinian elections, including the legislative elections originally scheduled for 22 May, is deeply disappointing,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a written statement.

He reiterated the bloc’s “call on Israel to facilitate the holding of such elections across all of the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem.”

Borrell also called on Palestinian authorities to set a new date for polls “without delay” and encouraged all Palestinian political actors to resume talks.

“We firmly believe that strong, inclusive, accountable and functioning democratic Palestinian institutions based on respect for the rule of law and human rights are vital for the Palestinian people,” he added, stressing the EU’s commitment towards a two-state solution.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday they will not hold elections with Jerusalem excluded from voting.

He said the Israeli side had not given an answer to the Palestinian request for holding the polls in the occupied East Jerusalem.

Abbas, however, stressed that once Israel permits elections in Jerusalem, the polls will be hold within a week.

Palestinian territories including the West Bank and East Jerusalem have been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

Like Turkey and much of the international community, the EU does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over these areas.

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