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Religious affairs minister calls for elections

Dec. 15, 2012 9:54 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 16, 2012 2:11 P.M.)
TULKAREM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority minister of religious affairs called in his Friday sermon for elections aimed at ending the split between Fatah and Hamas.

Mahmoud al-Habbash said that “holding elections is the door to the reconciliation and those who reject them reject the reconciliation”.

The minister was speaking at a mosque in Ateel village in Tulkarem, where he said the time for restoring unity was now and "our hands are open for reconciliation" with Hamas.

"Despite the differences in our way of thinking and approaches, we all live in one homeland and are in the same boat and we’re are facing the same challenges, obstacles and enemy”.

He also spoke about prospects for peace with Israel but said the Israelis' constant violations against Palestinians stood in the way of peace, referring to a killing in Hebron of a teenager.

“There is no peace with the occupation, settlements and settlers," al-Habbash said.

"Palestine will remain forever”.

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