Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has announced parliamentary elections will be held on 25 January. The vote which was due to take place in July had been postponed indefinitely. The announcement is widely viewed as a conciliatory gesture towards rival Hamas which is expected to make a strong showing in the vote.
Abbas is under international pressure to rein in the political group’s paramilitary wing, which says Israel’s pullout from Gaza is not enough and vows to continue fighting until Palestinian land is free. Abbas also said Israel must prove it is serious about peace by halting all settlement expansions in the West Bank.