Various Arab and European countries urged President Mahmoud Abbas during the his seven-European countries tour to hold elections early in a bid to end the internationally-imposed economic embargo on the Palestinian Authority.

Local Palestinian news agency ‘Sama’, reported that a high-ranking Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that ‘these countries believe that an early election is the solution out of current impasse’.

The Islamist Hamas group, described as ‘terrorist’ by Israel, United States and European countries, defeated the more moderate Fatah party of Mahmoud Abbas during the January 2006’s parliamentary elections.

In late February, Fatah and Hamas established a unity government in a bid to end internal violence and win international recognition. The new coalition respected signed peace agreements between Israel, while it asserted the Palestinians’ right to resist the Israeli occupation. The high-ranking official said: “Some Arab and European countries advised the Palestinian Authority to prepare a good atmosphere for holding early elections to end the international embargo”.

He hinted that Palestinian, Arab and European officials are currently holding talks over possible means to launch early elections by the beginning of 2008. On April 14th the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya, warned that Palestinians will take a national decision in the next few months, unless the embargo is lifted. He did not elaborate what decisions might be taken, but believed that Palestinians can not tolerate the Israeli actions and the embargo for much longer.

In December 2006, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, announced willingness to go for early elections in a bid to end the embargo, yet the ruling Hamas described the call as ‘illegal according to the institution’. The call sparked widespread violence that has so far claimed the lives of scores of Palestinians and wounded hundred others. The international Quartet still comands the Palestinian coalition government to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept past signed agreements before it can win international recognition.