According to Maan news agency the PA will call municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza strip for October. The move is a means of deepening the recent unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas and giving it reality on the ground, according to PA official Ghassan Shaka. PA official Ghassan Shaka has told Palestinian news agency, Maan, that the PA will call local municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza in October. The elections will be the first unified Palestinian elections since Hamas won national elections in 2006.

Local elections were initially due to be held in Palestine’s 315 municipalities in 2010. However they were put back to July of this year before being delayed again due to the recent unity deal between political rivals Fatah and Hamas.

The unity deal, however, has been dogged with problems as both parties have failed to agree on a candidate for Prime Minister for an interim government. Both Fatah and Hamas have also continued to arrest opposing party activists and officials in their respective strongholds of West Bank and Gaza.

The elections, commented Shaka to Maan, would give reality on the ground to the deal. ‘We hope that the elections will be held in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in order to translate national reconciliation into real action on the ground,’ Shaka said.

The elections will be the first since 2006 when Hamas won a resounding victory. Later clashes between Fatah and Hamas left the Territories divided between the Fatah controlled West Bank and the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip.

Under the Oslo Accords, signed by Yasser Arafat and the PLO in 1993, the Palestinian Authority is given administrative and security powers in the 17% of the West Bank designated as Area A, they have a further administrative powers but no security role in a further 24% of the West Bank designated as Area B and no powers in Area C which constitutes 59% of the West Bank.

The PA is not a sovereign authority within the Palestinian Territories. Both Gaza and all sections of the West Bank are subject to regular Israeli military incursion. All taxes in the West Bank are paid to Israel and the regions water and mineral resources are all under Israeli military and settler control.