Optimism spreading through Middle East

What others say

Posted: Thursday, December 09, 2004

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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