December 29, 2004 |
As Palestinians prepare to vote in their first presidential election since 1996, one challenge facing front-runner Mahmoud Abbas is the threat that a significant number of registered voters might not go to the polls because the outcome seems preordained. Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, is the clear favorite in a field of seven. Some polls predict he will get at least 75 percent of the vote. While 80 percent of registered Palestinian voters cast ballots in recent local council elections, participation in the Jan. 9 presidential contest could be lower, some political observers say. "Abu Mazen and his aides are afraid that the voters won't even come," Arab affairs columnist Danny Rubinstein wrote recently in the Israeli daily Haaretz.
December 26, 2004 |
Projecting a front-runner's low-key confidence, Palestinian presidential candidate Mahmoud Abbas is widely predicted to win election Jan. 9 in the first territory-wide voting by Palestinians since the death of their longtime leader, Yasir Arafat. So assured is Abbas of victory, confidants say, he will leave daily decisions about his campaign, which began yesterday, to the political machine of his dominant Fatah party while he pursues a more important agenda. "The big challenge is not the election.
January 14, 2007 |
Palestinian politics, which often play out against a backdrop of stuttering guns and wailing sirens, are not for the mild and retiring. Thus it was a vintage and electric moment last Sunday when Mohammed Dahlan, a leader of the long-awaited "next generation" of the Fatah movement, took the stage of a huge rally in a dilapidated soccer stadium here and waved away his bodyguards. To Fatah's archrival, he roared into the microphone, "Let Hamas shoot me. " The crowd standing raptly in a raw downpour erupted ecstatically at the taunt and afterward paraded the nattily dressed Dahlan on its adoring shoulders.
April 22, 2013 |
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Wrapping up a 24-hour visit to Istanbul, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday sought to cement and speed up an improvement in relations between Turkey and Israel as well as explore new ways to relaunch Mideast peace efforts. President Obama has made both issues foreign policy priorities for his second term and Kerry was pushing them in meetings with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu. On a trip to Israel last month, Obama secured a pledge from Turkish and Israeli leaders to normalize ties that broke down after a 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that killed eight Turks and a Turkish American.
March 26, 2004
The assassination of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed how Ariel Sharon operates. And yet we continue to be told that he wants to resolve the conflict equitably and peacefully, if only he could find a serious partner on the other side of the table. But remember the Aqaba summit, back in early June 2003? It followed the installment of the very first Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, a man Israel deemed sincere and acceptable enough as a partner that President Bush invited him to the White House.
December 13, 2004 |
The off-again, on-again presidential campaign of jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti was off again yesterday. In the face of widespread criticism of his decision, Barghouti announced that he was scrapping his short-lived campaign to succeed the late Yasir Arafat as leader of the Palestinian Authority. The move all but ensures that Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Mahmoud Abbas will replace Arafat as president in the Jan. 9 election. Although seven other candidates are running, none has the stature needed to compete with Abbas, according to officials here.
January 11, 2005
This weekend's overwhelming election of Mahmoud Abbas as the new leader of the Palestinian Authority provides an opportunity to restart a peace process. Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and President Bush should seize it. Not only was Abbas the winner, so were all Palestinians: The balloting proceeded without a calamitious incident, and with international observers deeming it free and fair. Abbas, 69, inherits all of the problems that Yasir Arafat, who died in November, did little to confront - and in fact did much to irritate.
January 13, 2005
'Boondocks' disgrace The Boondocks comic strip on Jan. 9 was a disgrace. It showed a white jogger running in the snow with two young black children looking on, with one of them saying "white people," insinuating that white people are not smart enough to avoid running in the cold. I can only imagine the national backlash from black leaders had the comic shown a black person doing anything at all with two young white children looking on and simply saying "black people. " Why is it that when insulting remarks are made by blacks toward whites it is considered humor, but when insulting remarks are made by whites toward blacks it is called racism?
August 26, 2005
In a worst-case scenario, Israel's removal of settlers from all of the Gaza Strip and a small part of the West Bank could have been outlined in blood. Instead, Israeli forces quickly removed protesters more peacefully than could have been expected. Israel continues its withdrawal of soldiers, supplies and structures. When that is done, probably early next month, 38 years of occupation will end with the handover of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas.
April 22, 2003
This is that "11th hour" you're always hearing about. This time, the ticking clock marks efforts to revive the bedraggled Mideast peace process. Unless intermediaries can persuade Palestinian President Yassir Arafat by tomorrow to give new prime minister Mahmoud Abbas flexibility in naming his cabinet, the faint hint of hope for a renewed peace process will be gone. That not only would be a shame, it would fortify the weary, cynical view that peace will never come to Israel, nor a state to the Palestinians.