07 November 2008

Palestinians on Obama

I came to Palestine so that I could begin my Hajj journey from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. I managed to interview some Palestinians to get their thoughts on the new president of the USA.

Hala from Ramallah:

It is like a dream for the minorities of the world- that a person of colour can be president of the United States- the country that virtually rules the world. But it is not important that the president changes, because as long as the Zionist lobby controls the USA, it will not be possible for things to change in Palestine.

Even if Barak Obama said that he is a 'Friend of Israel' only to get votes, and he really wants to make a change, will he be able to do so? Was Kennedy not assassinated because he wanted to make a change in Vietnam?

I find it strange that until now you have people who are so racist in the USA- they seem to hate Obama just because of the colour of his skin. It is complete backwardness to hate a person because the colour of their skin- and they say that us Arabs are backward!

Talal from Ramallah:

One needs to look at the USA from both the inside and the outside. From the point of view of people on the inside, this is big. But for us on the outside, there is only so much change that Obama can bring. He will be made to work within a margin that is set by those more important and powerful than him- he cannot move out of this margin. That is, he can't oblige the Israelis to withdraw, but he can do what Clinton did- make smaller steps towards peace. He can't do much in terms of big changes.

I read somewhere that over 60% of people who voted Obama did so due to his internal financial policies, and only 10% voted due to his international policy of wanting peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. So I think that peace in the Middle East is not Obama's priority.

Ayah from Bethlehem:

I don't believe that Barak Obama will make much difference for us. He will make a difference for the American people now, and maybe over time he can make bigger changes in the world. But he is not the one who decides- he does not have much say about America does in the world. And maybe if he does do big changes, he will be assassinated like Kennedy.

Clinton was supposed to be for the Palestinian people but he didn’t make much difference. Barak Obama says himself that he is a friend of Israel- but we hope he said that just to get more votes.