“rocky at best”:rnThe major wild card is whetherrnthe new U.S. Administration willrnattempt to proceed with the peacernprocess in the mold of Oslo, orrnrealize that the Oslo mold hasrnbeen broken and a whole new conceptrnis in order. The cornerstonernof this new concept shouldrnbe that i t is not I s r a e l ‘ s oppositionrnto Palestinian statehoodrnthat is the obstacle to peace,rnbut Palestinian (and Syrian) demandsrnthat even the most dovishrngovernment in Israel would considerrnreckless if not suicidal.rnIf Bush t r i e s to coast, and doesrnnot adapt to the new post-CamprnDavid r e a l i t i e s , both Israel andrnthe region could be in for arnrough ride.rnIn the Arab world, the mood was veryrndifferent. As the Lebanese daily Ad-Diyarrnreported (December 15):rnObservers realize the extent ofrnsatisfaction Arab governments andrnmedia feel over the success ofrnGeorge W. Bush, because theyrnoriginally feared the presence ofrna Jewish vice-president likernLieberman. . . . Arabs know that,rntraditionally, the RepublicanrnParty is not under the control ofrnthe Jewish lobby and believe thatrnBush Junior will follow his fatrnh e r ‘ s footsteps in the region.rnThey also think that, as the newrnSecretary of State, Colin Powellrnwould follow a r e a l i s t i c policyrnin the region, whether on thernlevel of the Arab-Israeli strugglernor what is related to securityrnin the Gulf.rnWhile Arabs rejoiced, media pundits allrnover the Western world were closer to thernmood in Pristina and Tel Aviv—anguishedrnat the defeat of Gore (“statesmanlike”)rnand the victory of Bush (“insecure” andrn”inexperienced”). The BBC’s Peter Marshall,rnreporting from Washington, describedrnGore’s concession speech as “bothrngracious and finely tuned” while Bush’srnwas merely “magnanimous” because “Hernhad to be.”rnOn one subject—unlimited ThirdrnWorld immigration—most Europeansrnrefuse to follow the liberal lead fromrnAmerica. Jorg Haider’s visit to Italy lastrnDecember, ignored in America, revealedrnthe depth of native Europeans’ feelingrnabout their threatened heritage and identity.rnAs the Corriere della Sera reported,rn[Haider] said Italy was soft onrnimmigration and he attacked thernprime minister, Giuliano Amato,rnand President Carlo AzegliornCiampi as weak men with weak,rnleftwing views. He said: “I wantrnto advise them to calm down, becausernI speak the truth: everyonernknows that in Italy there is arngrowing problem of immigrationrnand, at this moment, a very nervousrnclimate over the next election.rnI repeat what I believe:rneveryone has a right to a dignifiedrnexistence, but in their ownrncountry. Ever more people arernthinking like I do.”rnWhile Haider is invariably maligned inrnthe United States for his “extremism,”rngenuine extremists are let off the hook—ifrnthey perform on cue. A key ethnic Albanianrnleader in Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, isrninvariably described as a “moderate” inrnthe American press. In an exclusive interviewrnwith the high-circulation Germanrnmagazine Spiegel (December 9), however,rnRugova came across an unreconstructedrnhard-liner whose disdain for the Serbs isrnmatched only by his arrogance towardsrnthe “intemational community.”rnResponding to a question aboutrnPresident Vojislav Kostunica’srnoffer of negotiations on the futurernof Kosovo, Rugova repliedrnthat such negotiations werern”senseless and unnecessary” andrnthat the only conceivable negotiationsrnwould be those at a fairlyrnlow level on the “normalizationrnof relations” between independentrnstates.rnRugova regards Kosovo’s “independence”rnas non-negotiable, and he seems tornbelieve that the rest of the world is unreservedlyrnwith him: “Nobody will ask thernSerbs, nobody needs their agreement.rnThey must accept the decision of the internationalrncommunity.” Those Serbs whornremain in Kosovo will continue to live inrnghettos under JCFOR protection, as theirrnfull freedom of movement cannot be guaranteed:rnIn Rugova’s opinion “NATO needsrnto stay for ever” in Kosovo, andrnfor the sake of the entire regionrnNATO bases should be establishedrna l l over the Balkans. He concludedrnthe interview with thernstatement that “NATO i s our ownrnprivate army.”rnTens of thousands of Kosovo Albaniansrnand other Muslims who live in New Yorkrnmay be forgiven for thinking that Americanrnpublic schools are their own privaternschools. As the New York Post reported onrnDecember 1 (http://www.nypost.com/rnnews/17424.htm):rnwho says students can’t pray inrnpublic school? The Board of Educationrnallows Muslim students tornworship in school buildings duringrnthe holy month of Ramadan . . .rnOne Brooklyn high school givesrnIslamic students special privilegesrnto be 15 minutes late forrnclass and to turn the auditoriumrninto a makeshift mosque for theirrndaily prayer vigil-a practice onernnoted civil libertarian saidrnmight be i l l e g a l .rnThe Post noted that these accommodationsrnfor Muslim students came onlyrnweeks after Brooklyn Shallow IntermediaternSchool in Bensonhurst painted over arnplayground mural dedicated to neighborhoodrnyouths who had died because it featuredrnJesus Christ. But at Lafayette HighrnSchool, also in Bensonhurst, students canrnget a special pass to be late to seventh periodrnso they can pray in the school auditorium.rn”The above named student will bernparticipating in Ramadan everyrnday through December 22, 2000.rnHe will be approximately ten minutesrnlate to his/her 7th periodrnclass,” Lafayette Principal KennethrnSinclair writes on the passes.rn”Thank you for your understandingrnand cooperation in thisrnmatter.” . . . “The school letsrnus do our own prayer. I t ‘ s beautrni f u l , ” said Umit Kulug, a 17-rnyear-old senior from Turkey.rn”They let 100 of us boys andrng i r l s pray together in a big auditorium.rnSome of the non-Islamicrnstudents get a pass to watchrnus pray.” Kulug said teachersrneven help students catch up onrnwhat they missed in class.rn26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn