'PA 2010 elections likely to be delayed'

Senior IDF officer: Palestinian Authority prefers to postpone elections until 2012 due to internal strife.

mahmoud abbas pensive 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
mahmoud abbas pensive 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Palestinian elections scheduled for 2010 will likely not take place due to continued Palestinian internal strife, according to the latest official IDF assessment. According to a senior IDF officer, the Palestinian Authority - led by President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayad - prefers to postpone the elections and hold them in 2012, as opposed to January 2010. The parliamentary elections were initially supposed to be held in January of this year, but were postponed due to the continued divide between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Egypt is currently mediating between Fatah and Hamas, with the goal of establishing a national unity government and Palestinian political unity. Abbas said Saturday that he would accept any Egyptian proposal to achieve Palestinian reconciliation. Another round of talks is scheduled for July 25. According to the senior officer, Abbas and Fayad prefer to continue working under the present framework, in which they are in control of the West Bank and receive support from the international community to build up the Palestinian economy and security forces. According to a plan by the United States security coordinator to Israel and the PA, Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, the Palestinians will have 10 operational battalions trained by the US by 2012. Four battalions have already been deployed in the West Bank. Another three are slated for training in Jordan and deployment by the middle of next year. In addition, the US and European Union are building a Prisons Service for the PA and have already drawn up plans to build seven prisons in the West Bank. The PA currently has a shortage of prison cells and therefore has created a shift system under which it releases prisoners for short periods, replaces them with others and then switches them back again.