After the Palestinian Elections

(Washington Post) Jim Hoagland - The key to getting back to the relative calm and promise of early 1995 lies in Israel, the Palestinians, the White House, and European governments being realistic and modest about what can be accomplished if Mahmoud Abbas wins the Palestinian presidential election Sunday as expected. In his final days of campaigning, Abbas has demonstrated that grand hopes of quickly negotiating a final peace settlement are misplaced for now. Abbas may have convinced the Palestinian voters that he is the best man for power. But he has convinced me that he is too mired in the past to reach a full peace accord. This week he denounced "the Zionist enemy" and vowed that he would never attack the "freedom fighters" of Hamas and Hizballah. Abbas must fight Palestinian terrorism and eliminate corruption as an officially tolerated way of life. He seems intellectually to understand that. But his campaign promises to protect Arafat's "legacy" may now limit what he can do.

2005-01-06 00:00:00

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