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Palestine: Left behind by Obama

As US presidential hopeful Barack Obama wraps up a tour of Israel and Palestine, newspaper headlines all over the world are fixated on the Senator's attention to Israel…and lack of attention to Palestine's struggle.

One headline in particular, from Israel's Haaretz, could aptly sum up the feelings of the Palestinian blogosphere: “Obama visit all about wooing Jewish American voters.” Indeed, the words of the Palestinian blogosphere echo this notion, with particular focus on Obama's choice of Sderot as a destination.

bruised earth, a pro-Palestinian UK blogger, felt that Obama took advantage of the situation by visiting Sderot, not giving thought to how his actions would affect greater Palestinian opinion. The blogger remarked:

I know he is looking for some votes – but the nerve to visit Sderot (with just a flying visit of Ramallah – where no such statements were made) and again speak out against the daily misery of border settlers who have chosen (!) to live in this location and who are not caged or bound – or worse – imprisoned by the military, shows a level of ‘cheek’ here-to-fore unimaginable.

Let us not forget that Obama was the one Presidential hopeful strong enough to speak out against the violence and plight perpetrated on the Palestinian people. Where is that leader now? Are we to assume he will return once elected?

A very dangerous game continues to unfold…can votes possibly be worth this?

The title of a recent blog post from Desertpeace, an American activist living in Jerusalem, reads “Obama at the Wall.” Using few words, the blogger explained further:

NOT the wall of apartheid as one might have hoped…..But the Western Wall.

AMPAL (American Palestinian) expressed surprise that Obama hadn't visited the Holy Sepulchre, explaining:

Quite the contrary, it seems that the correct place for a CHRISTIAN future president of the United States of American to visit (kinda like his visit to AIPAC's convention days after he won the nomination) is to the Jewish Wailing Wall. Mind you the Moslem's third holy site, the Haram al Sharif, is just across that Wailing Wall. Seems like he has got it right twice in a row: prostrate yourself, nay, grind yourself into the dirt, in front of the rulers of your destiny (Zionists of both American and Israeli flavors) in order that you be receive some blessing by the so-called Chosen Ones. And even then they doubt you Oh Obama…

While other bloggers focused on Obama's actions, The Angry Arabs’ Comment Section took issue with his words, particularly his proclamation that Jerusalem “will be the capital of Israel.” The blogger pondered:

Huh? The phrase “I say it will be the capital” is diametrically opposed to the view that it's a final status issue to be negotiated by the parties. Unless he's got a crystal ball and knows the outcome in advance.

The question remains: Will Obama's seemingly unwavering support of Israel strongly affect his campaign? Joseph Al-Khoury, writing for the Arabdemocracy blog, gives reasons why, for Arab-Americans, it shouldn't:

The US has been unwavering in its support for the Zionist entity since its creation in 1948 providing it consistently with the financial, technological, military means to dominate the Middle East and wreck the hopes of one Arab generation after the other. This is unlikely to change regardless of who takes over the White House come November. But two factors Arab voters should consider while casting their votes. The first factor is that An Obama administration will not be motivated by ideology in its position vis-a-vis Israel while remnants of the neo-conservative and evangelical Christian agenda will persist in a Bush-McCain transition. Pragmatic policies might still be detrimental to the Palestinians but are easier to debate and challenge than those backed by divine intervention. The second factor is that the election of a Liberal modern Black man to the highest office will be good for America, whatever foreign policy he adopts. This is a revolution in the making and as all astute immigrants know it is by joining hands with the locals for the common good that you gain acceptance. As the American poet Gil Scott-Heron cynically puts it: ‘The revolution will not be televised…’ but the election certainly will!

This article has also been posted on Voices without Votes.

2 comments

  • Really fishy relationship between Israel and America. Beyond logic, it’s surreal. American presidents become zombies as soon as they walk into the Oval office, puppets for Israel, and then, during their last few months in office, they begin to show a little bit of humanity in them (the staged performances of the Bush administration these last few months), then once out of office, they publish a book similar to Carters, which, is brilliant that a former American president would bother at all (insert sarcasm)… it’s all too little, too late.

  • Obviously Obama doesn’t visit the Muslim oriented places because the childish american press will then interpolate it as a sign of his muslim orientation taking control of the white house. Obama, it seems, isn’t brave enough no to play to Israelis and Jewish american votes. Who knows what his real thoughts are and what he really intends to do if elected. I guess we’ll live and see. I think that for the sake of peace he has to be more balanced. Israel has been doing good with bush’s election only on paper. In reality he may have caused us more harm then good.

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