Sunday will be election day in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Palestinians will elect a new President to replace Arafat. There are many predictions, pronouncements, warnings and hopeful statements on the web and in the media. I do not intend to duplicate any of them nor even summarize them. Rather, I share with you some signs and evidence of work already happening on the ground to continue to nurture co-existence and peace.
All Nations Cafe, has been engaging in coexistence for some time now. Take a look at the beautiful
pictures on their website of some of their activites. (Who are they, their information page includes the statement, “We believe that people can live in peace if they get to know each other, through sharing food, having an open conversation, through celebrating and through working together.”
According to the Jerusalem Report, the Israeli Army may not re-enter Palestinian areas after the election.
Leslie Susser of the Jerusalem Report details some of the mechanism of the election,
The January 9 election will be monitored by about 250 international observers. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter will head a 90-member supervising committee. The election will be conducted according to the 1996 model, in which East Jerusalem Palestinians voted at post offices, rather than at regular polling booths. Israel did not want to deny East Jerusalemites the right to vote, but at the same time did not want the fact of their having voted to imply anything about the territorial status of disputed East Jerusalem. The dilemma was resolved by having them cast what could be regarded as a postal vote. The same procedure will be followed this time too.
I have hope which I pray will not be dimmed by terror or extremism on any side that Sunday will be a step toward democracy and peace for the Palestinians.