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Date posted: October 24, 2012
By Melkam Lidet for MIFTAH

The week started off with unfortunate news for Palestinians. The first one was the third US presidential debate on foreign policy that failed to even mention the Palestinian cause let alone deliberate it. The second was the result of a survey conducted in Israel that revealed a shocking majority in support of an apartheid Israeli state if the one state solution was to be sought.

The third US presidential debate on Monday 22 October, which was on US foreign policy, deliberated the current political and humanitarian crisis in the Middle East. But the Palestinian cause was not on the agenda even though Israel was mentioned several times. It was declared the one true ally to the US in the region. Both candidates pledged their commitment to the security and needs of Israel. But even when discussing their visits to Israel, both candidates neglected the urgent need for a just solution to the Palestinian pursuit of freedom. President Obama said he visited people whose backyards were hit by bomb shells from Hamas. But he didnt ask why, neither did he come close to the West Bank to see the aspirations of Palestinian people written on the Wall. And Governor Mitt Romney, well, hed said enough nonsense the last time he was in the region that he probably did himself a favor by not adding more.

Even though urgency and sensitivity of the situation in Syria and Lebanon right now is undeniable, the complete negligence of the Palestinian cause sends the message that peoples aspirations should be written down in blood to appear on the international agenda. The United States says it is committed to non-violent resistance and international law, but not only does it turn a blind eye to the Palestinian non-violent struggle, it threatens to castigate Palestinians for their bid for freedom based on international law and international institutions like the UN. The presidential debate, just like the history of US foreign policy, was a witness that the US is used to talking the talk but not walking the walk, and getting away with it.

To make matters worse for Palestinians, the result of a survey published in an Israeli newspaper Haartez on Tuesday 22 October, revealed an outrageous reality that should anger anyone who believes in human equality. The result of the survey indicated that a significant majority of Israeli Jews were not only aware of the apartheid nature of the occupation (58% believed Israel already practices apartheid on Arabs) but they also support it. The majority preferred the segregation of Jews and Arabs in social life where Jews would be favored over Arabs; the respondents also said they would support an apartheid state where Arabs would not have a right to vote for Knesset members if Israel was to annex the West Bank and Gaza. The double standards of this is no better said than in the words of Gideon Levy an Israeli columnist for Haaretz who wrote If such a survey were released about the attitude to Jews in a European state, Israel would have raised hell. When it comes to us, the rules don't apply.

But its not only the United States that is lending a deaf ear to the call of freedom and a blind eye to Israels harsh occupation. Europe also seems to be more interested in appeasing Israel and trading aid and cultural exchange programs with Palestinians instead of a much needed, firm political action. The rest, the global South just sits around and watches, sometimes cooperating with Israel even when oppression, occupation and colonization is history it shares with Palestinians.

The problem with indifference or inaction is of course that it sends the wrong message to those committed to non-violent resistance since non-violence resistance highly relies on support from third party actors. When the world ignores a peaceful struggle and avoids deliberating the solution, when it fails to recognize the daily physical and structural violence in sustained military occupation, denial of freedom, peace, and dignified life, and focuses only on conflicts that are born and sustained in violence, it sends the wrong message that peoples voices will only be heard if violently echoed. But it should be known that justice delayed is justice denied; and peace was never written by inaction and indifference.

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