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Obstacles Remain in Post-Arafat Era


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The post-Arafat era has begun with high hopes in Washington, London, Jerusalem and even Ramallah -- but many of the obstacles that prevented peace in Arafat's day remain, and it's not clear whether any of the major players has the single-minded determination to make peace happen. The United States is not as actively involved as it may have to be; the Europeans, who would like to be intimately involved, don't have the necessary political clout; the Israeli leadership, insulated by strong American backing and facing a recalcitrant right wing, sees no need to hurry, and the new Palestinian leaders, hamstrung by radical, violent opponents, may not be able to make concessions beyond what the late Palestinian Authority president countenanced. President Bush gave an inkling of the ambivalence inherent in American policy after a meeting last week in Washington with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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