The Palestinians and the Peace Process

(Economist-UK) Some Western diplomats and Palestinian officials hint that Abbas, with a helping hand from Arab states, is quietly poised to shelve his previous demand for a total settlement freeze and will consent to a plan to set up low-level or indirect talks, to save the Palestinian leader's face. Abbas, they say, knows he will not find a more sympathetic American president than Obama, so fears frittering his time away. Moreover, the PA, which Abbas heads, depends on American cash. In any case, many Palestinians are enjoying the West Bank's rising prosperity. Ramallah, their administrative capital, is bristling with new buildings, electronic and liquor shops and various spin-offs of foreign aid. Ramallah at night glitters with neon lights. Other Palestinian cities, though less flashy, also defy the world's economic crunch. Meanwhile, political apathy is setting in. A recent well-publicized meeting where Palestinians were to press their claims to Arab-populated East Jerusalem drew an audience of less than 50. As long as foreign donors pay the PA's salary bill, few expect a new intifada (uprising).

2010-01-29 08:33:20

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