President Mahmoud Abbas’s call for early elections has been welcomed by the US and Israel. An Israeli government spokeswoman said: “He has spoken clearly of his support for negotiations, if early elections or a change in the Palestinian Authority bring out more of the moderates we’ll certainly support that.”
The British Prime Minister Tony Blair, visiting Egypt, said it showed Abbas’s desire to improve the lot of his people: “I think this is a very important speech at a critical time. He has worked hard to try and bring about a unity government in which everyone, including Hamas, is represented but he is also signalling his determination to move on without them (Hamas) if they are unwilling or unable to play a constructive part.” Blair is on a tour of several nations in a bid to boost peace efforts in the Middle East. He sees progress between Israel and the Palestinians as helpful to ending bloodshed in Iraq, where Britain is America’s main ally.