BEIJING, Dec. 27 -- The Palestinian Cabinet met on Monday in the West Bank city of Ramallah. During the meeting the ministers discussed several issues including the upcoming Palestinian elections scheduled for January 2006.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia expressed his wish that the elections run smoothly but did not rule out a possibility of postponing them.
He called on Israel to reduce the security measures currently in place, because they are hindering preparations for the election.
One of the main issues of contention is the participation of East Jerusalem Arabs.
"Jerusalem is a main condition in this process, and no Palestinian citizen or official can go to elections without Jerusalem. The security conditions, the Israeli blockades and the incursions are not conditions under which proper elections could be held. Therefore, Israel should stop all these actions in the period of preparing for the elections."
Israel has traditionally been against allowing them to vote, claiming it infringes on Israeli sovereignty in the area.
Qureia also commented on the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
"We said all that the procedures which are taking place and thought to be drawing of borders, are not right and not acceptable. Neither the barrier nor the settlement blocks, nor any thing else, means anything. The only thing we commit ourselves to is what we will reach through official, proper and detailed agreements."
His comment came on the day a tender was published in Israeli newspapers indicating that Israel is planning to build an additional 228 housing units in West Bank settlements.
This would be a clear violation of its commitments under the U.S.-backed road map peace plan. Enditem