Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday he planned to hold parliamentary elections on schedule, while the militant Hamas threatened to reconsider its already shaky truce with Israel if the July 17 vote is delayed.
Other Palestinian officials, however, left open the possibility that the vote could be put off until after Israel's evacuation of settlements in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, scheduled to begin in late July.
"We have no intentions or desire to delay these elections," Abbas said.
Hamas, expected to make a strong showing in its first legislative contest, suspects that Abbas' ruling Fatah party wants to buy time to try to recover some of the popular support it has lost to Hamas.
"Now there are indications that the Palestinian Authority has intentions to delay the elections," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said. "In the event the situation continues as is . . . the Hamas movement will be pushed to re-evaluate its position on the truce that is on the verge of collapse."