Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Palestinians react to Israeli Elections

I'm sure you suspected that the Palestanians wouldn't be happy with Kadima's victory. The early results confirm this.

[T]he winning Kadima party presents them with a special problem. Its leader, Ehud Olmert, wants to abandon Jewish settlements in the centre of the occupied West Bank. But Israel would consolidate its hold on the main settlement blocs ....Palestinians would be confined to areas in the middle of the territory... [and] stripped of some of their best land and water resources.

They would not have the capital they want, and they would have no control over their borders and their routes to the outside world. They argue that they would never be able to create a viable state out of the land that Mr Olmert would leave them.

A leading independent Palestinian political figure, Mustafa Barghouti, has said of the plan: "It would mean a continuation of occupation and a continuation of conflict - and that would be as bad for the Israelis as for us." |BBC|

In related news, Hamas swore in a new cabinet and it appears that both sides' positions are hardening.

One Hamas MP, Hamed Bitawi, said: "The Quran is our constitution, jihad is our way, and death for the sake of God is our highest aspiration." His comments stood in contrast to a more conciliatory speech by [Palestinian Prime Minister Designate] Haniya on Monday in which he stressed the new government's push for peace and dialogue....Israel seized on Haniya's change of tone, saying it reflected the new government's "extremist" policies.

Mark Regev, the [Israeli] foreign ministry spokesman, said: "I hope the sort of remarks we heard today help to dissolve any possible illusion that might exist as to the true character of this new Palestinian leadership." |Al Jazeera|

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