Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that whether or not he issues a presidential decree declaring Palestinian elections depends on Israel granting permission for eastern Jerusalem residents to participate.

Speaking during a dinner at the Franciscan Monastery in Bethlehem, Abbas said “the Palestinian factions agreed on what we agree with, but one very important obstacle remained, namely, the holding of the elections in east Jerusalem,” according to the Xinhua news agency.

The Palestinian leader also said that legislative and presidential elections are needed “to restore democracy,” adding that “we cannot remain all this time without elections and without democracy.”

“We believe in democracy and believe in the liberation of Palestine soon,” he said.

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