Palestinians are Collateral Damage in American Foreign Policy
Interestingly, the third Presidential debate between President Obama and Governor Romney, which centered of foreign policy, failed to mention the Palestinian situation. The only time the word "Palestinians" was mentioned, it was by Romney, who accused Obama of not making progress in reaching a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. (Yes, the same Romney who just few months ago said that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. Look who is talking!!). Needless to say, Israel was at the centre of the debate, with both candidates competing on who between them is a better friend to Israel.
The fact that we were not mentioned is still a major upgrade from the Republican debate earlier this year, when we were called "invented", and when it was said that our text books teach how to kill Jews, that we Palestinians do not want a two state solution, and that we want to eliminate the state of Israel.
This makes me wonder whether Palestinians have become collateral damage when it comes to America's foreign policy. It seems that American Politicians, like the Israelis, are now content to keep things as is they are for the next few years. The occupation is becoming the norm. In fact Romney explicitly said this in his infamous-behind-close-doors fund raiser in May. Obama, on the other hand, and as Romney said, has done nothing towards bringing the Palestinians their right, as evident from his opposition to the UN Palestinian Statehood bid, and he has done virtually nothing to oppose Israel's continual settlement policy.
Meanwhile, Israelis seem to be content with the situation as is, and with Israel being labeled as an apartheid state, as evident from a recent poll that was just published. The poll indicates that most Israeli Jews would support an apartheid regime in Israel. "A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank."
In a debate where both candidates claimed that they want to see freedom and equality in the Arab world, and where they seemed very concerned and alarmed about the fate of the revolutions in Egypt, Syria and Libya, it is ironic that nothing was mentioned about the fate of the Palestinians. How long can the occupation go on without being challenged? How long can USA and Israel deceive themselves and their peoples by continually ignoring the rights of Palestinians for self determination? Israel and USA continue to oppose the Palestinian bid for statehood, claiming that this constitutes a barrier to peace, or even “diplomatic terror.” Yet as Hanan Ashrawi eloquently argued, "the idea that we are supposed to get permission from our oppressor to obtain our freedom is simply absurd."
Both Obama and Romney are guilty of double standards in their continual neglect of the Palestinians, simply because we do not serve their interest. When both were asked in the debate about America's role in the world - I wondered how people in the Arab world view America's involvement in the world. For us the answer is simple. America is interested mainly in advancing America's own interest, whether it is through power or through diplomacy. We are not buying into this "we want to bring you freedom and democracy business". So please, STOP using this rhetoric, because it only reveals your hypocrisy.