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Young Palestinians look forward to elections

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Jihad Qindah, from the West Bank city of Ramallah, breathed a sigh of relief after hearing that the legislative elections will be held on May 22.

The 35-year-old young man, who was elected to the Fatah party in 2006, said that the upcoming elections will present him a golden opportunity to choose representatives who would achieve goals and fulfill Palestinians’ dreams.

Mariam Kurdiya, another Palestinian from the city of Ramallah, told Xinhua that the internal division of Palestine has destroyed the existence of the Palestinian issue, not only in the regional area but also globally.

“Now it is time to regain our roles in building our country, and restoring the trust and respect into the Palestinian cause,” the young woman said.

She added that the young generation represents a high percentage of the Palestinian people, which means that they can change the current reality, either politically or economically.

“All of us know that the new generation has become more aware of political, economic, and social situations. They can determine their future as they wish,” she added.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Abu Daher, from Deir al-Balah located in the center of the Gaza Strip, hopes that the elections will be held as planned, because “Palestinians need new representatives who would solve their economic crisis.”

“For 15 years, the unemployment rate has gone up and that pushes thousands of young Palestinians to immigrate and try their luck abroad,” he said, adding that the new representatives would hopefully help those people to overcome their ongoing economic crisis.

“Only once we have a stable life, we will be able to think about how we should deal with Israel and its annexation plans based on the international law,” he explained.

Nevertheless, Abu Daher is betting on the awareness of young Palestinians to take their first step to change the painful reality in Gaza by participating in the upcoming elections.

However, Abdul Rahman al-Away, in his 20s, is not optimistic towards holding elections. He believes that neither Hamas nor Fatah will accept the elections’ results, which means that they would return to the military fighting to keep their power on the ground.

“It is very important to strategically build on the younger generation that has not experienced infighting and division to formulate a popular awareness based on joint action,” Hussam al-Dajani, a Gaza-based analyst, told Xinhua.

He said that the Palestinian elections should be based on the principle of participation, not victory, in order to create a new generation that believes in democracy, equality and human rights.

For his part, Hani al-Masri, a West Bank-based analyst, told Xinhua that many obstacles challenge the electoral process.

“We should be aware that Israel would ban the elections in East Jerusalem, which will negatively affect the results of elections,” he said, adding that the Palestinians should find alternative solutions for obstacles.

On Friday evening, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree setting specific dates for holding the legislative and presidential elections, in addition to a vote into the Palestinian National Council.

Under the decree, legislative elections will be held on May 22, presidential elections on July 31, and the Palestinian National Council elections on Aug. 31.

The last legislative elections were held in the Palestinian territories in late 2006 when the Hamas movement, now ruler of Gaza, won a majority. Abbas was elected as the president of the Palestinian Authority in 2005.

(XINHUA)

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