The New Jordanian government headed by Ali Abul Ragheb has its hands full as it tries to tackle the many issues that King Abdullah has asked of it. The economy and liberalization are the two key issues that will take up most of the energy of the new administration. For the Jordanian economy to break out of the hibernation it is in, the economic relations with its two key neighbors must dramatically improve. Iraq and Palestine form the natural markets for Jordanian products and services. Continue Reading »
(June 15) – The death of Syrian leader Hafez Assad was not seen as a major cause for sadness in Palestinian circles. Except for the national airwaves (Palestine TV and Voice of Palestine) the private Palestinian radio and television stations went on with their regular programming of music, entertainment and news.
In the streets and cafes of Palestine the question on everyone’s lips was not so much on how the death of Assad will affect the peace process, but on Bashar Assad’s relations with the Palestinians.
The news of Arafat’s intended visit to Damascus to pay his respects to the Syrians, and later, the news that the Syrians agreed to welcome him, was seen as possibly the beginnings of a Palestinian-Syrian rapprochement. Continue Reading »
The coming three months will witness a major push in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. A moment will come when the leaders of Israel and Palestine will have to choose peace or the continuation of the conflict. This could happen in a Camp David-like summit or a draft peace agreement most like to be presented to both sides by the Americans sometime in August.
Israel’s general decision-making process is well-known. It includes the mini-cabinet, cabinet, Knesset, and finally the referendum. What about the Palestinians? There is a mistaken impression that such decisions are restricted to one man. True, the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, is the person who will ultimately make the final decision, but before he reaches a conclusion one way or another, a lot needs to happen and the opinions of many people, organizations, and countries will be involved. Continue Reading »
With all its problems, the city of Jerusalem has a special charm about it. You feel it when walking into the Old City through the Damascus Gate or when you sit in a restaurant like the Pasha in Sheikh Jarrah.
This charm, however, is being distorted by the fact that one set of people, the Palestinians, are being excluded from deciding the city’s present or future. A simple look at the traffic on the roads in and out of Jerusalem can be the best test as to the status of Palestinians in this holy city. Continue Reading »