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That can be the beginning of the process of democracy.” To move closer to true democracy, Abbas will also have to remove his predecessor’s restrictions on the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and the press.Then perhaps the next election will be truly free and democratic.
If we add the 2.4 million Arabs the new study says live in the territories, the total population from the river to the sea would be 9.2 million (including about 1.3 million Israeli Arabs).Still, the election could hardly be called competitive as the outcome was never in doubt.Seven candidates ran for president, but the only question was the size of Mahmoud Abbas’ margin of victory. His nearest challenger was Mustafa Barghouti with 19.8 percent.This is very close to the 97 percent Israel offered to the Palestinians at Camp David in 2000, which means that while other difficult issues remain to be resolved, the territorial aspect of the dispute will be reduced to a negotiation over roughly 90 square miles.MYTH FACT A study was recently published that suggested the assumption that Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza pose a demographic threat to Israel has been exaggerated because the actual population in the territories is significantly lower than what is reported by Palestinian Authority (PA) officials.The route of the fence must take into account topography, population density, and threat assessment of each area.
To be effective in protecting the maximum number of Israelis, it also must incorporate the largest communities in the West Bank.The election had a much lower turnout than expected (62 percent), and supporters of the Islamic terrorist organizations largely boycotted the vote, as did Arabs living in east Jerusalem.Thus, Abbas was conservatively estimated by al-Jazeera to have received the support of only about one-third of the eligible voters.In the case of the Palestinian Authority (PA) elections held in January 2005, the standards were higher.These were advertised as an example of democracy and, compared to other Arab states, the voting was a considerable advancement toward free elections.Immediately after the election, however, 46 officials from the PA Central Election Committee resigned, confirming suspicions of voting irregularities and fraud.