Gazans wary as US election looms

Gazans remain sceptical that a new president will alter their desperate situation.

    Many Gazans feel the choice of candidate will make little difference to their cause [EPA]

    With foreign policy remaining high on the agenda for all prospective US presidential candidates, particularly the Middle East peace process, Al Jazeera asked political analysts and thinkers from Gaza for their thoughts on the election, their preferred candidates and whether a new president will make any difference to the Palestinians.

    Hassan al-Kashef, political analyst, producer for Palestinian state TV

    I think that Palestinians are looking forward to seeing Hillary Clinton as a US president as they have not forgotten what her husband, Bill Clinton, offered to the Palestinians and our late president, Yasser Arafat.

    He is the one president who gave a lot [of thought] to the Palestinian issue.

    I ask the coming US president to continue where Clinton left off with the Taba negotiations - which dealt with the main Palestinian issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, and settlements.

    I think that the main disadvantage of Bush is that he did not show concern for the Palestinian issue except at the end of his rule, and has put his country in many colonial wars which disgraced the US.

    However, history will say that Bush is the first one who supported the idea of a two-state solution.

    Dr Faisal Abu-Shahla, Fatah Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member

    I support Hillary Clinton. Naturally, the main mistake of the current US president is that he did not give the Palestinian-Israeli issue the concern it deserves.

    ask the incoming president not to repeat the same mistakes of previous presidents

    He pushed his country to many wars and was always partial towards the Israelis.

    The other mistake of Bush is that he pretends to have faith in democracy, but when democracy comes with an unsatisfactory party in his eyes, he neglects it, as with what happened in Palestine.

    However, I would not rely on Hillary Clinton to return us our rights. I do not find any difference between Democrats and Republicans and also independents. All of them are always partial towards Israelis.

    I ask the coming president not to repeat the same mistakes of previous presidents.

    I hope that he will give more attention to this issue and find a just solution to it, and not just postpone it to the last year of his rule.

    Jamal al-Khodari, independent PLC member supported by Hamas and head of the Popular Committee for Breaking the Gaza Siege

    I don't support anyone whether they are Democrat, Republican or independent.

    Our issue is not related to characters, but to concepts, principles and visions. Whichever candidate supports our issue and our right of freedom and independence is good.

    The main cause of what is going on in Palestine is the Israeli occupation, but the unlimited US support to it is also significant.

    The current administration supports the occupation, but I hope the coming US administration will stand with us and not be biased towards the Israelis.

    We will continue raising our voice to [so that they] give us the concern we deserve.

    Jameel al-Majdalawi, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and PLC member

    In general, Bush's policies have had a negative effect on the Palestinian issue. This is clear in the lack of financial and information support.

    Moreover, his stance towards the elections in 2006 [showed] how he does not support democracy, but antagonised the party elected [Hamas] and supported sanctions against it.

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    However, he is the first American president who adopted the idea of establishing a Palestinian state.

    I do not support any specific candidate in the coming elections, as I am persuaded that the White House is ruled in a certain way that does not agree with US interests.

    However, this policy does not respect balanced interests with the Arab world.

    It is clear that all the US administrations act under the stress of specific parties which pressure against them by legal and illegal ways - sometimes inhumane ways.

    This is the Zionist lobby, which controls the financial and logistic resources.

    I ask the coming president to hold true to real democratic values and human rights in order to help the nations in our area and accomplish international legitimacy without being biased towards the Israeli occupation.

    Nahed al-Rayyes, former minister of justice, columnist in Falasteen newspaper, local Palestinian newspaper

    I think that the Bush administration is the most biased regarding the Israeli occupation because of the dogmatic beliefs of the US neo-conservatives.

    I do not support any good action from any candidate as we have been deceived in the past

    Bush has neglected the peace process - of which the US is the author, director and producer for seven years - and now he makes a show he is concerned with it.

    However, this is a deceit, as he wants to conclude his efforts in helping Israel and destroy any freedom seeker in the Middle East.

    I do not support any good action from any candidate as we have been deceived in the past when we thought that one was better than the other.

    For example, we thought that Al Gore was worse than Bush as he explicitly supported Jews in his election campaign, but I think that Bush did worse than him during the years of his rule regarding the Israelis and the Palestinian issue.

    The most dangerous thing with American presidents is the insistent and increasing influence of the Zionist lobby on them, whether they are Democrats or Republicans.

    My sole demand of the coming president is to be just American and to act from the American point of view.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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