As a Palestinian contributor to +972, I have been struggling these past weeks with how to write about the US presidential election. Part of the problem is that this year’s nominees have hardly touched on our part of the world. Beyond the shock-jock antics of the Republican candidate or the very real resurgence of hate among the American electorate, this election has revealed America’s distinct lack of awareness about its role in the world.
The Palestinian question and the conflict that sustains it are no exception. Despite massive U.S. foreign aid deals linked to the conflict — with Israel and with neighboring countries that have inked peace deals at Washington’s urging — Palestine has hardly figured in the rhetoric of either Republicans or Democrats. But if the candidates have had precious little to say about Palestine, the real story may be how little Palestinians seem to care.
Consider a poll released this month by Al Najah University. In it, Palestinians opined on British responsibility for their current predicament (79 percent “considered Britain responsible for the catastrophes that befell” them), on a French initiative to restart Palestinian-Israeli talks (63 percent said it would fail), and on a similar Russian call (49 percent supported it).