The Israeli government, the United States and the United Kingdom
welcomed Abbas' Saturday speech and his call for early elections,
considering it a serious Palestinian political decision.

An Israeli security source close to the Israeli Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, said that this speech resembles an important Palestinian political decision that would create new possibilities “to renounce terror”.

The source added that Abbas' call could enable the resumption of peace talks in order to create new realities in the region.

The White House expressed approval of Abbas' speech and his call for early presidential and legislative elections.

White House spokeswoman said that she hopes this step would lead to reducing tension in the Palestinian territories. 

“It is true elections are internal Palestinian issue, but we hope this will help in creating an Authority which is committed to the principles of the Quartet”, she stated.

British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said after his Saturday meeting with the Egyptian President, Hosny Mubarak, that he supports the statements of Abbas and supports his call for early elections.

Israeli Labor Member of Knesset, Ophir Pines-Paz, said that “Abu Mazin (Abbas) proved his courage and ability as a leader”.

Pines-Paz added that “if we do not cooperate with him, then Iran will control the Palestinian Authority”.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert called on his ministers and officials s not to respond in public to the declaration of Abbas, and said that “it was an internal Palestinian issue”.

Following Abbas' speech, several Israeli officials described it as “a positive development, but it is earl;y to talk about it statements were made without outcome”, the Israeli Ynetnews reported.

Israel Maimon , Israeli Government Secretary, called the ministers over the weekend and instructed them not to discuss the issue, the Ynetnews added.

Yet, this is the first time Abbas calls for early elections.