In the January 26th Jacksonville, Florida debate televised on CNN an audience member of Palestinian descent asked a question about what the candidates would do to promote peace between Palestinians and Israel. Only Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were given a chance to respond, after all, political debates are not about debating issues, they are about being the biggest demagogue. I do think it’s safe to say that neither Romney nor Gingrich are very concerned with pandering to the republican arab vote.
Both Newt and Mitt agree with each other and yet Rep. Ron Paul wasn’t even consulted to weigh in on the topic even though everyone knows he would have had an opposing view. Shouldn’t it be considered good debate moderation to allow opposing views to be heard and solicited in the spirit of actual debate of controversial issues?
The poor guy who asked the question was treated very callously and must have felt like he was a criminal the way he was treated. Romney almost appeared offended by the question even being asked. Yet he asked a question about a very complex and multi-faceted issue. Unfortunately for everyone though, the answer he was given was quite un-complex and one dimensional. He was essentially told that neither candidate would support peace with Palestine unless the Palestinians make more concessions and stop fighting back. This is easy for chicken-hawks like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney to say since they’ve never lived in ghettos without access to medicine, jobs, food and freedom of travel. The Israeli’s are after all the ones who are continuing to build settlements in Palestinian territory in blatant disregard to all U.N. rulings and pleas by outside parties attempting to help negotiate peace. Ever seen all the videos of the Israeli army guarding guarding chainsaw operators as they cut down Palestinian olive trees on private property?
The Israelis encroach on private property day after day, pushing the Palestinians into a small corner and act indignant when they are attacked, either with gun or something as simple as rocks. Clearly, there cannot be peace as long as some Palestinian leaders say things like they want the eradication of Israelis and the Palestinians MUST act and reject this kind of speech because it only does them a disservice by promoting violence and portraying them as aggressors.
Saying that we can’t have peace until the Palestinians stop fighting back is like like blaming someone who is being smothered with a pillow for flailing their arms. “Not until this person stops flailing their arms while we have peace! Of course, he will be dead, but we will have peace nonetheless.” The Palestinians are being occupied, just like the Afghans and Iraqis. What is the constant theme amongst occupations? Insurgency. Until we get this point, we won’t understand foreign policy and won’t be fit to be called the “leaders of the free world”. This is like having a tax cheat as our secretary of the treasury. Oh wait, we already have that.