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Analysis: What next for Palestinians?


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CNN's Christiane Amanpour
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour told CNN Anchor Hala Gorani that after the death of Yasser Arafat, senior Palestinian politicians have united for now -- but the leadership is in a transitional phase.

Gorani: It has been mentioned the biggest challenge for the new Palestinian leadership is to show unity. There is also the wild card of Hamas -- and Islamic Jihad. How do all those groups fit in to the process going forward?

Amanpour: According to so many of the analysts we have been talking to, according to the leadership themselves and the actions that they have been taking over the last nearly two weeks that President Arafat was lying on his death bed in France and now that he is actually passed, they have been putting into place that transition, that post-Arafat era with a so far united leadership.

They have gone over to Gaza, they have talked to representatives of Hamas and others, they have talked to the security institutions over there and that is the message they have been taking according to so many people who have been privy to those talks.

That's obviously a very big priority and a big prerogative right now. Many people are saying that what we've witnessed -- certainly over today you saw the formal transfer of power to the people of the Palestine Legislative Council as is stipulated in their basic law.

Basically that is the culmination of the procedures that both Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and Abu Ala (Ahmed Qorei) and their teams have been putting into effect ever since Yasser Arafat was airlifted on his last journey out of the Palestinian territories back at the end of last month.

Gorani: I guess one of the big problems for the new leadership is that whoever takes over from Yasser Arafat is the low popularity that some of these leaders enjoy. They don't have the credibility that Yasser Arafat had.

Regardless what you thought of Yasser Arafat, he still embodied Palestinian statehood. Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmed Qorei really don't in the minds of many Palestinians.

Amanpour: They embody a competent leadership and they have also, according to very, very many people, been right there with Yasser Arafat for the last 40 years.

Those two particularly were the crucial negotiators for the Oslo peace accords. They have so much experience and so much institutional knowledge that people are hoping that they will become a professional team of leaders, at least for this interim period.

Obviously no one, no one at all, has at the moment the charisma, and the singular identity that Yasser Arafat did.

The one that comes the closest to it and is the most popular if you look at the Palestinian polls is Marwan Barghouti, who is right now in an Israeli jail.


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