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Alan Johnston (BBC, Saturday): Mixed feelings in Gaza at Abbas agenda

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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 04:03 PM
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Alan Johnston (BBC, Saturday): Mixed feelings in Gaza at Abbas agenda
From the BBC Online
Dated Saturday January 8

Mixed feelings in Gaza at Abbas agenda
By Alan Johnston
BBC News, Gaza
There is strong support in Gaza for Palestinian frontrunner Mahmoud Abbas, but also scepticism and resignation.

Under the palm trees around Gaza City's parliament building, thousands danced and sang and chanted the name of the man who looks set to win the Palestinian president election - Mahmoud Abbas.

These were Mr Abbas' Fatah party faithful, and they came out to welcome him as he campaigned in Gaza.

Mr Abbas - or Abu Mazen, as he is also known - pointed to a blazing torch in front of the podium, and told the roaring crowd that Yasser Arafat had lit the path that he would follow.

The Israeli occupation had to end he said, the settlements had to go, and the wall that Israel is building in the West Bank had to come down.

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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 04:28 PM
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1. Martin Asser (BBC): On the campaign trail with Barghouti
From the BBC Online
Dated Saturday January 8

On the campaign trail with Barghouti
By Martin Asser
BBC News in the West Bank

As the Palestinian Authority election campaign draws to a close, no candidate can have campaigned harder - or made greater impact - than the independent civil society activist Mustafa Barghouti.

He has emerged from a pack of six as the most notable challenger to Mahmoud Abbas, and claims, in some districts, to have even edged ahead of the PLO chairman and Fatah candidate.

"I feel proud to be the leader of a democratic trend doing something that hasn't been done for 1,000 years here in the Arab world, challenging the existing authority in free elections," he told a press conference at the beginning of the last day of campaigning.

Among his other feats, he counts coalition-building between his Palestinian National Accord movement and radical parties such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and speaking for the "silent majority" of Palestinians he says are not represented by the existing Arafat-Abbas regime or the Islamists of Hamas.

He pledges to end corruption, use PA resources more effectively and deal with Israel not through faltering interim agreements but with a major international peace effort like the Madrid summit of 1991.

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