Since the death of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, a mood has been spreading in the Middle East that had not been felt for a long time: optimism.
All the signals are pointing toward a new beginning in relations between the Palestinians and Israel. Arafat is history; now only the future counts.
In January already, the Palestinians will choose a new president something that the old one had prevented with the excuse that elections were impossible under Israeli occupation.
In order to support the Palestinian people on the road to democracy, hardly a day passes on which the European Union or the United States do not send high-ranking representatives to the region. ...
Still, the positive signals are being overshadowed by Israel's government crisis.
The prime minister now governs with only 40 lawmakers in the 120-strong parliament. Only if his Likud party agrees to include the Labor party in the government can new elections be prevented.
Election campaigns in Israel have never been a good time for progress in the peace process.
Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, Germany, Dec. 6
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