CONTACT: SCOTT HAUSER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
UI law professor and Middle East advisor: Peace prospects dim
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Prospects for peace in the Middle East are the dimmest
they have been for years, at least among many segments of the Palestinian
population, says Adrien Wing, professor of law at the University of Iowa
and a long-time scholar and advisor in the region.
Wing, who returned from a 10-day trip to the Palestinian-controlled
West Bank, the Gaza Strip and to other parts of Israel on Sunday, Nov.
9, says that in interviews with more than 100 people, few held out hope
that the peace process would succeed.
"I was quite shocked by the pessimistic tone," Wing says.
"No one feels that there is anything good that will come out of the
Wing, who was in the Middle East for a scholarly conference sponsored
by the Palestinian Institute for Democracy, has traveled extensively to
the region in the past 10 years. In May and August 1996, she was the only
American advising the Palestine Legislative Council on a "basic law,"
or constitution, for the West Bank and Gaza.
The document has recently been approved by the Palestine legislature
but has so far been ignored by Yasir Arafat, president of the Palestinian
National Authority, Wing says.
Wing says the lack of progress in the peace negotiations; lack of action
on the constitution; increased pressure from Israel and the United States
on Arafat, which has reinforced his previous tendencies to violate human
rights; this summer's terrorists acts by the Palestinian group Hamas and
potential future attacks; and the Israeli government's assassination attempt
on a Hamas official in Jordan have all added to the ominous tone in the
"I don't feel good about the prospects for peace or for the peace
process," Wing says. "Literally anything could happen, and none
of it is going to be good."
Wing is currently writing a book on Palestinian democracy.
EDITORS NOTE: Adrien Wing, professor of law at the University of Iowa,
is available to comment on the situation in the Middle East. She can be reached
at (319) 335-9129.