Now you know how it feels to be stateless: the Palestinians didn’t rate more than a single mention in the foreign policy debate in Boca Raton, FL, tonight, even as both presidential candidates repeatedly tried to out-Israel one another. Romney mentioned the Palestinians once. Obama forgot that he visited Palestine.
Both candidates repeatedly made pledges to Israel and its security. Not a word about Israel’s occupation, nothing about the two-state solution. In a shocker, Obama said he considered a breach by Egypt of its treaty with Israel a threat to U.S. security. NYT transcript:
They have to abide by their treaty with Israel. That is a red line for us, because not only is Israel’s security at stake, but our security is at stake if that unravels.
But that peace treaty specifically called for a just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Who’s walked away from it? Obama is Singing Hatikva, a friend wrote me. Scott Roth tweeted, “If after watching this debate you are not convinced that Israel is a serious problem for this country, then you’re deluded.”
Almost as shocking, Romney said he’d have Ahmadinejad indicted for inciting genocide– and Iranian diplomats treated like pariahs, “the same way we treated the apartheid diplomats of South Africa.”
And then he slapped Obama for not visiting Israel:
Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to — to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to — to Turkey and Iraq. And — and by way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel.
Obama responded quickly that he had visited Israel in 2008 as a presidential candidate– and failed to mention that he had also visited Palestine then:
You know, if we’re going to talk about trips that we’ve taken, you know, when I was a candidate for office, first trip I took was to visit our troops.
And when I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn’t take donors, I didn’t attend fundraisers, I went to Yad Vashem, the — the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the — the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable.
And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas. And I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children’s bedrooms, and I was reminded of — of what that would mean if those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles.So that’s how I’ve used my travels when I travel to Israel and when I travel to the region.
So that’s how he used his travels! He skipped Palestine.
Moderator Bob Schieffer was the only person on stage to suggest that a nuclear Iran might be deterred from using a bomb– just as the Soviet Union was deterred. That comment brought a promise to use force if necessary to stop Iran, from Obama.
And Romney was the only one to mention Palestine. He did so in faulting Obama for not working on peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Is — are Israel and the Palestinians closer to — to reaching a peace agreement? No, they haven’t had talks in two years. We have not seen the progress we need to have
So Romney wants peace talks and Obama simply ignores the Palestinians. So much for the two state solution… No, the only thing that matters is Israel’s security. Endless talk of Iran, and accusations that Obama has put daylight between Israel and the U.S. But not a word about Palestinians living under the longest military occupation in modern history, a source of rage across the world. Tragic.