Speaking to Aljazeera on Friday, Palestinian Labour Minister Ghassan al-Khatib said the US had not been serious in assisting Palestinians hold elections in the past.

 

He said when Palestinians recently started to prepare for elections and began registering voters for local and presidential polls, Israel hindered the process, especially in Jerusalem. 

 

This went against Israel's agreement with the Palestinians, he said. As for the US, it did nothing to help, the minister added.

 

Al-Khatib said it was up to the Palestinians to decide on elections. "The manner in which thousands of Palestinians responded to the death of Arafat was an indication of the popular support he enjoyed and the backing the people gave for his political methods and positions," he said.

 

Legitimacy

 

"Bush has gone back on an old promise.
This is unfortunate, unacceptable and inexcusable"

Ghassan al-Khatib,
 PA Labour Minister

Whether elections are held or not, the future of Palestinians would be decided by the Palestinian people, al-Khatib said. And the course they adopt will be internationally legitimate.

 

The minister said there was a peace road map with a specific time-frame for a Palestinian state.

 

"Bush has gone back on an old promise. This is unfortunate, unacceptable and inexcusable," al-Khatib said.

 

The minister said a European view and a unified Arab stance are crucial if peace is to be achieved in the region.

 

He said there were specific resolutions of the UN Security Council on the issue and that the US "should be more serious and honest in applying these to the region so as to ensure international legitimacy".