[[Jerusalem Times: Opinion]]


December 8, 2005


This week in Palestine….. Behind the news with Hanna Siniora


Netanya Suicide Bombing

President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Netanya suicide bombing as an act of terrorism and stressed that the PA will pursue and arrest those responsible for the crime in order that they face justice.  The PA will not sit on the sidelines, Abbas headed a meeting at his headquarters in Ramallah and ordered the security chiefs to arrest those related to the bombing.  Abbas stressed that those who carried out the act undermined the aspirations of the Palestinian people for independence and damaged existing PA-Israeli relations.  As usual extremist elements in Palestine succeeded in derailing the attempts to move forward toward peace, leading to the closure of the West Bank and Gaza, adding to the restriction on the movement of goods, in a period where the
Gaza Strip is about to start exporting its winter crop of produce.

Fateh Primaries

In Hebron, the Fateh primaries were cancelled as a result of fraud and grave irregularities. The results were annulled, and the Hebron Fateh Committee will arrange for a new day to run the primaries anew.  Jibril  Rajoub -- who won handily -- will have a hard time getting similar results.

In Jerusalem the primary results were approved by the Fateh primary elections committee and the twelve winning candidates were announced.

1. PLC member Hatem Abdel Qader -  7325 votes.

2. General Othman Abu Gharbia  - 6101 votes.

3. Retired diplomat Abdallah Abdallah  - 5220  votes.

4. Youth advisor Talal Abu Afifeh -  4855  votes.

5. Kalandia activist Hamde Rajabe  - 4680 votes.

6. Kalandia activist Sheikh Muhammed Nafea - 4482 votes.

7. Former Arafat spokesperson Ahmed Abdel Rahman -  4499 votes.

8. Deputy Minister Ahmed Ghnaim  - 4403 votes.

9. Activist Jamal Abu Lel  - 4322 – votes.

10. Educator Muhammed Suwan  - 4311 votes.


The reserved seats for Christian went to:

11. PLC member Emile Jarjouri  - 2818 votes.

12. Newcomer Demitri Dilianeh -  2621 votes.

Women in the Jerusalem Fateh primaries failed to win a safe position; Shuafat refugee camp activist Ms. Jihad Abu Zneid (a former IPCRI employee) received around 4000 votes but so far it is difficult to predict that she would be given a safe position.

Third Option Developments

This week talks continued among the various democratic forces outside Fateh and Hamas to create a united front to contest the election. The talks this past week still failed to materialize concrete results, mainly as a result of lack of agreement on who heads this list. Several meetings took place that included Gaza activist ex-PFLP member Ghouji Abu Ghieb.


Dr. Salam Fayyad the Minister of Finance, again is tossing his hat into the ring and is conducting talks with Hanan Ashwari and others to run on  a third-party national list.  The main issue is who will head this list -- Fayyad or Ashwari.  It will include Geneva activist and PLO executive member Yasser Abed Rabbo and Jamal Zakout -  Fida activist and Gaza.  

Talks continue to be pursued by Ashwari with human rights activist Dr. Iyad Saraj and UNDP Khaled Abdul Shafi son of Dr. Haider Abdul Shafi.

The third option will probably see at least two main lists: the Ashwari-Fayyad list and the Mustafa Barghouthi list and so far it seems improbable to have a united list for the third option.  Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi's list will include PLC member Ms. Rawy Shawwa from Gaza, Dr. Allan Jassar from Nablus, Talal al Sharif from Gaza, also Ms. Alam Khaisheh, Suheil Khoury from the West Bank, PLC member Ziad Abu Amer and Muhsen Abu Ramadan from Gaza. 

Hamas List

Hamas, the most organized of all the parties in the coming elections, announced its central
Gaza list and soon will announce its national list.  Hamas' chances in the Jerusalem district are probably better than the Fateh list and will include two Christian candidates.  Hamas has more registered voters in the Jerusalem districts, more than Fateh and the other lists combined.  In Jerusalem they have the chance to win more than fifty percent of the votes and if the Fateh votes are disbursed, Hamas might win all the Jerusalem district votes.  It is expected that they will have a similar chance in Gaza.

The Wall in

In Dahiat Al Barid on the northern approach to Jerusalem, the Israeli authority resumed installing the wall that will isolate
East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.  The Khoury sisters who have two schools in Jerusalem will have the Beit Hanina school inside the wall, and the Dahiat Al Barid School outside the wall, with students and teachers not being able to move between the two.  Al Ram and houses in the neighborhood will be completely outside the wall, and almost 100,000 Palestinians living in neighborhoods which are suburbs of East Jerusalem are gradually finding themselves outside the wall.  In Al Ezariyeh (Bethameh) the local council submitted its case to the Israeli High Court to issue an order to stop the expansion of the war to the northern eastern boundaries of Al Ezariyeh.

The wall continues to expand, and is isolating Palestinian neighborhoods from East Jerusalem, which is totally cut off from the West Bank, with deteriorating economic conditions.

Prince Waleed Ben Talal

In a meeting held by the Arab Thought Forum in Dubai, Prince Waleed Ben Talal, one of the most progressive scions of the Saudi Dynasty and its  leading entrepreneur argued that the Arab world should give a chance to  PM Ariel Sharon, to prove his sincerity about reaching a settlement with  the PA.

Prince Waleed has extensive global dealings in Citicorp, Euro Disney and various American and European investments.  He is the first Saudi to voice such a statement, besides Egypt.