With Yasser Arafat’s death, the Palestinians experienced a moderate feeling, a mixture of fear of the unknown, the pain for the loss of a paternal figure and the hope of change. This feeling explains reactions with regard to changes in the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. However, since his death, the Palestinians continue to be separated by a wall, suffer humiliation at the checkpoints and the colonies are far from being reduced. In addition, poverty is even worse and the Palestinian society is divided by the Israeli policies that try to destroy it and the increase of corruption.
This situation shows that Ariel Sharon’s propaganda aimed at presenting Yasser Arafat as the main obstacle for peace was false. Since such propaganda did not succeed, the Israeli Minister of Defence, Shaul Mofaz says now that it’s the current generation of Palestinian leaders as a whole that represents an obstacle for peace.
There is a new hope, an unexpected hope in this sad scene, however: the victory of Amir Peretz as the leader of the Israeli Labour Party. Peretz is a man that understands the suffering of the Palestinians and who is aware of the fact that the rights of the Jewish and Arab workers will only be respected in peacetime. Therefore, Peretz victory must be hoped for in the next Israeli elections.

Daily Star (Lebanon)

From Amir Peretz, a possible ray of Palestinian hope”, by Saleh Abdul Jawad, Daily Star, November 21, 2005.