Note: Tomorrow, I am headed back to Zababdeh for the duration of my stay. It is a short stay, only four days, but I am grateful for as much time "back home" as I can find. Today was our last day of meetings on the economic development of Palestine, the first step of many along the road. It was a great day to end on. We were meeting with some of the key decision-makers within Palestinian society based in Ramallah.
When I lived here, from 2000 to 2003, I had the chance to meet and hear from the decision-makers of the previous "generation" (I use the word loosely). But one key thing was always lacking: there was no articulated vision for how to get out of the problems that faced them. There was always the focus on the Occupation, at times the issue of extremism, but never any sense that their people deserved leadership with vision.
This new "generation" of leaders, sometimes referred to as the Technocrats, is different. They are realistic, facing the fact that the Occupation continues. They are keenly aware of the power and the danger of the radical extremists within Palestinian society. And yet, while seeking accountability, they are also clear that there is a need to build civil society in the meantime. Advocacy and diplomacy continue. Economic development moves forward, despite the obstacles. In a word, there is vision.
For me, in a word, there is hope.