By Adam Hanieh
To many the Israeli elections in May represented a battle
between those who supported peace and those opposed to it. Election
advertisements by incumbent Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu
re-ran scenes of bombings in Jerusalem, to portray the message that Israelis
are safe only under the leadership of the right-wing Likud party. The
Labour Party, under Ehud Barak, responded with the image of Barak as ``Israel's
most decorated soldier''.
In the West Bank, however, the situation continued as normal
throughout the election period. The average Palestinian on the street paid little
attention to what was going on just a few kilometres to the east. In contrast,
the Palestinian leadership urged Palestinians inside Israel to ``vote for peace'',
a thinly veiled call for a vote for Barak.
This gap between the street and the leadership is perhaps the most
striking feature of life in Palestine today. The street cares little for what
happens on an official level, while on a daily basis land is confiscated, houses are
demolished, and Palestinians are imprisoned and tortured.