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May, 2008



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Presidential Candidates Sell Out
Palestinians Will Fare Poorly, Whoever Wins
By Karen Nakamura

The American Presidential election will make little difference to the Palestinians. They'll continue suffering without relief for the next eight years no matter who's elected. Will they be able to survive that long?
Every Presidential candidate, including Barak Obama, has made it clear they are unconditionally selling out to the rightwing of Israel. That they are ignoring the middle and left wing is never mentioned despite polls showing 64% of Israelis want their government to talk with Hamas.

Hillary Clinton even went so far as to say that not only will she defend Israel from the Iranians; she will defend any other Middle East country against Iranian aggression. Is that even if they don't want it like in Lebanon? Or in Saudi Arabia where they kicked US forces out just before the invasion of Iraq? And is that even if Israel attacks first or continuously violates the Geneva Convention?

McCain is still singing Bomb-Bomb Iran and being okay with staying in Iraq for a 100 hundred years, "like in Korea and Japan and Germany." What those countries want is of also of little concern to him. On April 14 McCain made a statement on former President Carter's plans to meet with Hamas: "It is a grave and dangerous mistake for an American leader to meet with a terrorist organization like Hamas …that deliberately targets innocent Israeli civilians, Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. President Carter is wrong to meet with Hamas, a terrorist group that has also killed innocent Americans." He forgets, probably doesn't even know about, the American Rachel Corrie who was killed by Israeli Defense Forces.

While McCain tries to paint Obama as unpatriotic, Obama calls for change don't include Palestinian rights or even recognizing that Hamas was fairly elected. His sell-out to the right-wing Israeli government is frightening. After the Rev. Wright scandal, Obama made it a point to meet with conservative Jewish leaders and ignore (insult) Muslim-Americans. He had every chance to meet with together with representatives of all religious organizations to show unity. Instead his campaign website states: "He strongly supports the US-Israel relationship, believes that our first and incontrovertible commitment is …to the security of Israel." Not only did he support Israel in its invasion of Lebanon in 2006, he strongly supports military and economic aid and advocates increasing that aid. Logically then, he supports paying Israel to kill Palestinian children. No? Look again.

Not one of the three will acknowledge Israel is legally wrong because it is occupying Palestine and that the Palestinians have the right to defend themselves.

Let's look at Israel's actions in Palestine during only the month of March 2008. These figures come from the Palestinian Monitoring Group. When you read these numbers, remember that Gaza is only 10 miles by 30 miles approximately and the West Bank approximately 35 miles by 100 miles. Every other month has similar numbers.

Assassinations: An Israeli special-forces unit assassinated 4 civilians in Bethlehem. In a failed assassination attempt, an Israeli special-forces unit opened fire on 2 civilians in Qabatia, south of Jenin.

Deaths: The Israeli army killed 119 Palestinian civilians in March, including 4 in the West Bank and 115 in the Gaza Strip. Of these, 15 were children, including 1 toddler; and 1 university student killed by settlers.

Injuries: The total injuries reported 443 (172 in the West Bank and 271 in the Gaza.). Most injuries were in Northern Gaza (207. Of those injured, 66 were children, 1 blind civilian run over by an Israeli jeep; 7 journalists; 4 international peace activists and supporters, including Israelis and 8 civilians attacked by settlers.

Arrests: The Israeli army arrested 557 Palestinian civilians in March, including 498 in the West Bank and 59 in the Gaza Strip, among them, 64 children and an attorney from the Office of the President.

Closure: Especially on Fridays, the Israeli army continued to intensify restrictions at checkpoints at the entrances to Jerusalem and prevented civilians from access to the al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israeli army continued to isolate the northern districts of the West Bank, impeding civilian movement between districts. The army also set 529 flying checkpoints in and around residential locales throughout the West Bank.

Here some other facts for our candidates to consider. After Hamas won the January 2006 elections, it was willing to declare a ceasefire and allow President Abbas to negotiate with Israel on behalf of all Palestinians. The blockade of Gaza has strengthened Hamas in Gaza. Efraim Halevy, former head of Israel's Mossad, has called for Israel to negotiate with Hamas. Before the Annapolis conference, a bipartisan group of U.S. foreign-policy experts, including former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, sent a letter to President Bush saying that "genuine dialogue" with Hamas is "far preferable to its isolation."

Ha'aretz also reported that on April 16, conservative Likud leader, Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel. "We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," He reportedly added these events "swung American public opinion in our favor."

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