Youth Voices: Elections in the Post-Arafat Era

Dina Jawhar, left, entered Yasser Arafat into the voting rolls. Credit: Dina Jawhar

As part of her job registering voters, Dina Jawhar, left, entered Yasser Arafat into the voting rolls. Dina Jawhar hide caption

itoggle caption Dina Jawhar

With Palestinian elections planned for January, those on both sides of the Middle Eastern conflict are debating how the outcome will affect the stalled peace process. Youth Radio has been asking young Israelis and Palestinians about the way they live today — and how the election might change that.

Israeli Sara Dansker is an 18-year-old settler from Efrat who is in the Israeli army. She now lives in an apartment in Dimona, near Be'er Sheva. Dansker says the new Palestinian leader will help shape relations in the region, with the central question being how to stop violent attacks.

Dina Jawhar is a 23-year-old from Ramallah. In September, she worked with the Palestinian authority on municipal elections, and she was the poll worker who registered Yasser Arafat to vote. She says many of her friends are uncertain of who will lead them — and some believe Arafat was their last hope for a state.

Both Dansker and Jawhar speak of someday living in peace, "[to] feel that we are neighbors, not enemies," in Jawhar's words. Still, they each acknowledge it's a long way off. As Dansker says of traveling between Palestinian and Israeli cities, "I think it's a very utopian vision."

This report is part of an occasional series, Youth Voices from the Middle East, produced by Youth Radio.

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