Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that he’s awaiting Israel’s approval for holding Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections in Jerusalem.He also expressed hope that the next general election in Israel would “bring faces that believe in peace with the Palestinians.” Noting that Israel had permitted Arab residents of Jerusalem to participate in previous PA elections, Abbas said that the Palestinians have submitted an official request to the Israeli government concerning the planned vote.The vast majority of the Arabs in Jerusalem are considered permanent residents of Israel and are not Israeli citizens. As residents of the city, they enjoy the same rights of Israeli citizens, expect voting for the Knesset. Although they are entitled, to participate in the Jerusalem Municipality elections, most Arabs have been boycotting the vote since 1968, when east Jerusalem was annexed to Israel. “Until now we haven’t received a reply from the Israeli government,” Abbas said during a meeting of the Fatah Central Committee in Ramallah. “We have asked all our friends, particularly the European Union, to talk with Israel about this matter.”Abbas said he was keen on holding new elections, but insisted that the vote should take place not only in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but also in Jerusalem.He said that the chairman of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission, Hana Nasser, has informed him that Hamas and several other Palestinian factions have agreed to participate in the proposed elections. “All we need now is Israel’s agreement to hold the elections in Jerusalem as in 1996, 2005 and 2006,” Abbas said.Abbas and several PA officials stated in recent weeks that the elections won’t take place without the participation of Arab residents of Jerusalem.In September, Abbas announced during a speech before the United Nations General Assembly his intention to hold long overdue elections for the PA presidency and parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). No date has been set for the elections.The first Palestinian general elections, held in 1996, were for the president of the PA and members of the PLC. The second presidential election took place in 2005, when Abbas was elected to a four-year-term. One year later, Palestinians again voted for the PLC, and the result was a victory for Hamas.A small number of east Jerusalem residents participated in the three elections.Abbas’s critics claim that he may use the issue of east Jerusalem participation as an excuse not to hold the elections.Hamas officials said in the past few days that they can’t understand why Abbas has still not issued a “presidential decree” setting a date for the elections. The officials pointed out that Hamas and most Palestinian factions have responded positively to Abbas’s initiative, adding that there was no reason for the delay. PA presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said that the elections can’t take place without east Jerusalem. “The PA insists that the elections also take place inside Jerusalem,” he said. “This issue is non-negotiable. Without Jerusalem there won’t be a Palestinian state or peace or stability for anyone.”A senior PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that Abbas was serious about holding new elections. “The president will issue a decree as soon as we receive a positive reply from the Israeli government regarding the participation of East Jerusalem residents,” the official said. “We believe that the international community and the UN will succeed in pressuring the Israeli government to allow the elections to take place in Jerusalem.”The official insisted that the elections should take place inside the city and not in areas under the control of the PA. He was referring to the possibility that Israeli authorities may allow Arab residents of east Jerusalem to cast their ballots in villages surrounding the city, but which are located outside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem.Abbas told the Fatah leaders on Tuesday that he remains opposed to US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for Mideast peace, also known as the “Deal of the Century.”The Palestinians, Abbas said, “reject the Deal of the Century, including what has already been published and what will be published. We know that what will be published could be worse than what has already been published.”Abbas was referring to the economic portion of Trump’s plan, titled “Peace to Prosperity,” which was released last June. The political portion of the plan is yet to be released.