Thursday, November 11, 2004

Cycling to Greenwich, I noticed a shopkeeper hanging two Palestinian flags outside, and a big black flag. So, it’s over, I thought; he’s dead. Strange, to learn about it in Deptford of all places. Palestine/Israel is here, with me, inside me, and on the headlines of the Evening Standard: Arafat Dies.

At Greenwich university I felt some glimpses of England: the majestic Naval building. The Plain trees shedding the leaves. The Thames, so close, visible from the top floor windows. But then; the 18 year old student; the overheated computer room.

When I came back home from the library, Greg was there. He’s passing through London; he spent a few months in Gaza two years ago, as an ISM volunteer. Naturally enough we talked about Arafat’s death. He asked me if I think it changes anything. Maybe not, I said. There’s nothing to stop all parties – Sharon, the Ameircans, the various Palestinian groups – to carry on exactly as before. But if the Palestinians demand elections – I can’t really see Sharon finding a way to refuse it – this has a prospect of improving things.

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