According to the two Republican front-runners, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the reason for Palestine’s bid for statehood at the UN is a result of Barack Obama’s Middle-East policy. Apparently, it has nothing to do with Palestinians living without a state for 42 years in an occupied territory, but it has everything to do with Obama’s pro-Israeli foreign policy, which has done nothing to support Palestine or a Palestinian statehood other than encourage Israel to negotiate with Palestine based loosely on the 1967 borders, which has been the official position taken by anyone, including previous Israeli presidents, to make peace.
This is a clear attempt by Perry and Romney to court the Jewish vote by using falsehoods to discredit Obama. Anyone with a slight understanding of politics knows that Obama has been just as supportive of Israel as any other president. No politician from either party would ever actively work against Israel’s interests, and Obama has consistently requested Palestine to drop its bid for statehood in the UN. At least the National Jewish Democratic Committee President David A. Harris came to Obama’s defense:
Perry’s comments today demonstrate that he clearly has little command of the U.S.-Israel relationship and even less interest in preserving the historic bipartisan support for Israel. His baseless attacks on President Barack Obama’s strong record of support for Israel and the actions that the President and his Administration are taking to beat back the Palestinian’s unilateral initiative are nothing more than a deeply disturbing ploy to inject domestic politics into the U.S.-Israel relationship.
In addition, Romney said Obama should cut financial aid to Palestine if it goes through with the bid for nationhood, and also “reevaluate its relationship with any nation that votes in favor of Palestine.” So the U.S., then, would need to reevaluate its relationship with just about every nation in the world except for Canada and some countries in Western Europe. Critics of the Palestinian bid for statehood will claim that the recognition of a new nation should come through negotiations, and not through the UN, but of course Israel itself was founded through the UN, not through negotiations with Palestine or any Arab countries.
So the Republican candidates were ignorant and misleading in their accusations, but the problem is what Perry accuses Obama of doing — placing Palestine and Israel on equal footing to negotiate peace — is actually what he should be doing. Favoring Israel over Palestine, which every president does, ignores the realities of the Palestinian problem and permits Israel to continue its occupation of Palestine without any incentive for negotiating for peace. Palestine, reportedly, is interested in “serious negotiations” with Israel, but it’s clear that Israel does not want peace with Palestine or make any effort to recognize a Palestinian state.