This weekend the Palestinians are to be given the right to elect a new leader, they say, for a change. However, if peace-making is to be resumed and if Israel is to agree to talk to the Palestinians, they can only choose Mahmoud Abbas - hence the international pressure to eliminate the popular Marwan Barghouti from the race. The fact that many Palestinians do not see Abbas as representative of their aspirations or willing to defend their rights does not matter to Israel or its western allies. Nor is it of any concern to the US and the EU that Hamas has increasingly strong support among Palestinians (as highlighted by their recent performance in municipal elections); they still will not talk to its representatives. It is fully acceptable for Israelis to elect whomever they deem fit to lead them, even a war criminal like Ariel Sharon. No Arab people are allowed the same luxury.
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