NEW PALESTINIAN LEADER….That didn’t take long:

Hours after the death of Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leadership quickly filled its top posts on Thursday, trying to signal that the chaos and ambiguity that characterized his decades-long hold on the Palestinian national dream died with him.

….As Palestinians absorbed the news that the wily survivor had at last succumbed, the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization replaced Mr. Arafat as chairman with Mahmoud Abbas, a pragmatic negotiator and a critic of the intifada, the armed uprising against Israel.

Is that good news? I guess so. I hope so. I wish I knew more about it.

The big questions, of course, are (a) does he have any real influence over the various Palestinian terror groups, and (b) will Bush and Sharon be willing to work with him? He almost certainly has some nasty stuff in his past (who doesn’t?), and it would be easy to use that as an excuse not to deal with him. I’d guess that if that quickly becomes a principal talking point from “well placed sources,” it probably means nothing new is going to happen.