2005-01-10 08:15:08
Monday 08:17:42
January 10 2005


Isreal says it is ready to work with new leader

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PALESTINIAN - "Palestinian people need self-determination, freedom and peace, but most of all they need to gain back their dignity". , tells MISNA Claudette Habash, Caritas Director in Jerusalem, and Caritas Internationalis Vice-President, on the eve of presidential elections. Almost 1,7 million Palestinians are called to cast their vote, in 1,072 polling stations, to choose Yasser Arafat's successor, who will become the new leader of ANP (Palestinian National Authority).

Two, among seven, are the real candidates: Abou Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), former prime minister who is given as the favourite by polls, and Moustapha Barghouti, a 51 year old physician, a human rights activist in Ramallah, and considered one of the main representatives of Palestinian society. "From a political point of view, Palestinians are very anxious to be participate in this political process, as they have not had such an opportunity from a very long time", explains to MISNA George Giacaman, Director of MUWATING, Palestinian Institute for Democratic Studies. The real question is how many will really vote and how much Tel Aviv will help with promised facilitations at checkpoints. " Meanwhile the 'wall’ is being built with great rapidity, and its height makes it now almost impossible to jump it. There have never been so many spot-checks as there are in the last few months" testifies Sister Marie Dominique Croyal, missionary at the Welcome Centre of Our Lady of Sorrows, at Abou Dis (situated at border with Jerusalem, and separated from the Holy City by the 'wall’ erected by Israel), where they look after many elderly people, almost all Palestinians. Notwithstanding all daily difficulties, "we have noticed quite a change since Arafat's passing.

Palestinians who work with us" who very seldom complain " have, in fact, kept their hope that things may change, that their Country may be able to regain control of its destiny, and that peace may be on the way", concludes Sister Marie Dominique. ( Excerpt of a Veronique Viriglio's article for MISNA French edition) [MB]


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