What the elections will do for the Palestinians:
* For the first time, Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza will elect a legislative body for the self-rule areas and create an executive branch to implement laws.
* A procedure will be set up to have a successor to the elected president - likely to be Yasser Arafat. Up to now, Arafat has not chosen a successor.
* As elected officials, Palestinian leaders will have a stronger mandate to negotiate ''final status'' issues with Israel.
What they won't do:
* The election won't create a Palestinian state with its own army.
* It won't resolve pending issues with Israel, such as sovereignty over the areas Palestinians now control, the status of more than 3 million Palestinian refugees in Arab countries, Israeli control of Jerusalem, or the future of about 130,000 Jewish settlers on the West Bank.