Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas announced on Thursday that he will schedule a date for elections in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

“From the outset, we have believed in democracy as a foundation for the building of our State and society,” he said in his speech at the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York. “This democratic process was paralyzed by the coup by Hamas in 2007, which is an unbearable situation.”

Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group, has since controlled Gaza.

Therefore, continued Abbas, “I have decided, upon my return from this international gathering to announce a date for the holding of general elections in Palestine—in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”

Abbas also railed against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election pledge to annex the Jordan Valley.

“If any Israeli government carries that out, all the signed agreements [with Israel] will be terminated,” he declared.

“It is our right to defend our rights by all possible means, regardless of consequences, while remaining committed to international law and combating terrorism,” he said. “Our hands will remain extended for peace.”

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