Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In the West Bank, Palestinians revive the 'Jordanian option'

"Mahmoud Abbas may be showered with international support but he will have an uphill struggle to re-instil hopes of a Palestinian state, to judge by the four owners of small businesses who gathered for tea and political argument in the Al Amari Refugee Camp in the West Bank capital, Ramallah......

The real polling shows that a still hefty 30 per cent of Palestinians now support the idea, according to the Near East Counselling Institution based here......

But uppermost in the debate are two other factors – growing despondency about the realisability of a Palestinian state, and disillusionment with the present leadership. Khlaed Masri, 40, a stone merchant, an ex Fatah supporter who now supports no faction, says: "We were told [in the Road Map] we were going to one in 2005; then we thought we might get one in 2007. But there is no Palestinian state."

......"This man has five sons. They all got high grades at school. He paid the university fees for two of them to get good engineering degrees but they cannot get a job. You are a brigadier [in the Palestinian security forces] and your son gets a scholarship. Is this fair? Screw Abu Mazen [Mr Abbas] and screw Yasser Arafat in his grave."

Maybe. But while Mr Marbua, a furniture retailer, agrees that Palestinians are "lions led by donkeys", he adds defiantly: "Our interest is to have an independent state and not to rely on anyone else, not the Americans and not all these other countries." "

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