January 21st date set for Palestinian elections


Palestinian parliamentary elections will be held on January 21st, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive committee said today.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the date had been agreed by the committee, a week after President Mahmoud Abbas said the delayed legislative elections would be held in January.

The vote had originally been scheduled for July this year.

As Israel continued its pullout form the Gaza Strip, Mr Abbas earlier said the move was insufficient and called for an end to occupation of other territories too.

"The Israeli withdrawal that has begun today is an important and historic step that shouldn't only happen in Gaza but also the West Rank and the rest of the land reaching to the 1949 borders," he told the Palestinian government-controlled Wafa News Agency.

Palestinians want a state on all of Gaza, the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. They fear Israel will use the Gaza pullout as a ruse to strengthen its hold on West Bank settlements.